Spring 2019 Poetry Slam Submission


At age 11, I began to flat-iron my hair. With a straightener or even a plancha. I wanted to...

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At age 11, I began to flat-iron my hair. With a straightener or even a plancha.

I wanted to be able to run my fingers through my hair.

In my eyes, my hair was too thick, too curly, too poofy.

I wanted it luscious and silky.

At age 13, I began to bleach my skin.

In 1st period Kiki called me a “guajaquita” partly because I was short and because of my dark color.

When I got home that day, I grabbed a bottle of bleach to lighten my skin because I was, “ Too Dark”

later that night I couldn’t sleep, the pain from the bleach was tearing holes in to my skin .

my knuckles split open, my thighs and face had manchas. I looked like what a toddler would ask their mama where leche de chocolate came from.

Although I visioned an Alabaster, pure luscious skin

The perfect color for a girl’s skin tone.

The creamy white hints at innocence and the skin radiating a slight glow, as if I were somehow illuminated from the inside.

I was not illuminated.

But hardiendo por dentro!

My freshman year in high school, contacts were a hit.

Brown eyes were too basic. Plane. ugly .

Each day my best friend Gloriana would have different colored eyes.

Monday she’d have blue eyes , Tuesday she’d have green. Wednesday she’d have hazel eyes. As much as I wanted colored contacts

I didn’t feel comfortable enough to be constantly sticking my fingers in my eyes.

It wasn’t until the end of my sophomore year in summer, when Jessica saw my natural hair at a sleepover and told me “ You are so stupid!”

How I wished I could wake up with curls like yours.”

And so, the beginning of my junior year I stopped straightening my hair.

At the end of semester, the day before prom a couple of girls showed up to class and walked in looking like orange painted terracotta

A fool ..

I was damaging my skin, while white girls were trying to have this glowing tan that I get from simply walking home from school.

I Didn’t know modifying my appearance was not only stripping the pigment of my skin, but my cultura as well.

I didn’t know there is no such thing as “ too dark”. As if “ too dark”, had a definition

It is simply ignorance generated from the caste system.

I Didn’t know that not speaking Spanish does not make you less of a “Mexican”

I may have kept the tongue but lost the culture.

Later to find out Spanish was not the language my ancestors spoke.

I didn’t know if I wanted to dream, I needed to be cultural conscious

I didn’t know that in order to grow, I needed to know my roots.






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