Rican Washed

I'm "white washed,"

Down to my bone,

Down to my soul.

For no true culture defines me.


For ancient bones hide beneath my soul-

As coqui sounds were my morning bells,

And guenepas my morning fruit.


Yo no baila bachata,

Y no me gusta aguacate.

And reggaeton is a sound that could never claim me.


From Héctor Lavoe y Marc Anthony-

My culture isn't half of me,

Not even whole,

Nor in my soul-

I'm washed down to the core.


I'm white washed,

For my dialect speaks of proper English,

And professional lingos like I'm hooked on phonics,

Unhooked on the economics of the profits made away from mechanics and bodega shop owners.

My tongue makes me a loner-

While buying empanadas from the slums of my shelter.


"Why don't you speak like us?"

"Why don't you dress like us?"


Saying "Coño-" as they pull their belt-less pants up,

With curly headed Afros in disgust.

For my curls go straighter than the edged life I'm supposed to lead by example.

As if speaking proper is a decimation of my tongue.

Almost as if Rosetta Stone disgraced me-

From trading nicotine for Nickleback,

And Henny for John Lennon.


I'm so white washed,

That navidad parrandas are no longer siren songs to my heart-

My culture tore me apart,

For arróz con amarillos could no longer save me.


Trading suits from banderas,

And straw hats for cheap-

For I left my heart in Puerto Rico,

And I could no longer weep.


Pero yo soy borícua-

Pa'que tu lo sepas!


So who am I kidding?

For my sun-kissed skin could never hide my true distinctions.

I am borícua,

That could never be washed.

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