This week's Melanin Speaking contribution is a poem from June Pen.
Melanin Small Talks
Dear United States of America,
This week's Melanin Speaking column piece comes from Noah Laroia-Nguyen, who discusses being mixed in America. “As a mixed person it is often easy to feel as if you have lost your agency, your choice, and your personhood. The labels and names placed onto you can feel like they are erasing the person underneath. My goal for this work is to reclaim our labels and give us a voice. I hope that these photos let you know that you are not alone and you are not invisible.”
I've cried because of hurt Because of happiness Because of understanding and the things from them that mis(s) I have cried because of loss Because of gain Because my mind can never differentiate good and bad The same decipher of glad and mad I've cried because of tears Because of the warmth down one's cheek Like a grandmother's kiss Or a mother’s rubbed knuckle I have cried because I could And with no knowledge of what it means to let go I continue to let tears pour Down my face like water trickling from the shower A wet collar Often stained with black from materials in which makes me look beautiful I have cried And as tears pour down my face I am reminded of my problem That letting go is harder than taking in That even the sturdiest bag does too break That sooner or later, that drenched towel must be wrung dry I have cried And just like being stuck out in the middle of winter for too long I have become numb to the idea of what it means to stop
Swipe Left, Swipe Right Who will I swipe tonight, Am I looking for some fun? Or am I looking for the one? Swipe Left, Swipe Right I got a new match, DM, Alright, Swipe Left, Swipe Right “I’ve never dated a black women before...” Unmatched, God, not another one! Swipe Left, Swipe Right How did my friend meet the one? Did she swipe 24 hours a day, Was she even having fun? Swipe Left, Swipe Right DM, “Dinner and a movie tonight?” I guess that sounds like fun Swipe Left, Swipe Right One date, two dates, I think it’s going well Ghosted. Swipe Left, Swipe Right Is this millennial love? Boiled down to a few math algorithms And superficial profiles Swipe Left, Swipe Right I could swipe all night Will I ever be happy? Delete.
This week’s “Small Talk” is another beautiful poem from Melanin Speaking writer Jessica Sullivan, showing the importance of creativity and ingenuity. let’s make a painting. we’ll need all the colors for this one, burgundy, sapphire, teal, gold, brown. pick up your brush don’t you see this space is waiting for us? we’ll unleash a wheelhouse watch our colors collide what we’ll create will be breathtaking.
I’ve always wanted to be a mermaid. Not for the sexy, mystical persona, The slim figure sunbathing on a rock, nah, I want to be a mermaid for the tail. I want to swim into the waters that swallowed My ancestors, feel my beautiful glistening tail Power through the waves, go back Through time, meet all of those who left too soon. I imagine when we die the earth enveloped us back In its arms it made us mermaids, Ethereal and magical. I want to delve deep into the waters That we call home, Swim up to Emmett Till as he was Before the lynching, a gorgeous black Boy with a tail that matched the color Of the autumn leaves. He’d welcome me home with the sun in his smile, Ask if the world is better now. How do I tell a boy who died in 1955 The trees still seep our blood, That we’re in a losing race with bullets? We’d swim together, water particles Brushing our skin like we’re kindred spirits, He’d show me the family I’ve never known. I’d play messenger for the unarmed black boys Who want to tell their families they’re okay, Now, there’s no to worry for our safety because Who would shoot a mermaid? I can’t look at the water Without seeing the ships, they’re calling me home, waiting to welcome me with open arms. What can I say, I’ve always wanted to be a mermaid.