Monday, June 22, 2015

I am a Cultural Chimera

This is a poem about being mixed-race in America.

I am a cultural chimera.

A bit monstrous to the plain folks with their similar parts all in a row.
I have a leg from Spain, 
an eye from Italy,
a tongue from India,
a hip from Greece, 
a heart that is Native American,
a laugh from Africa. 
My tail is quite Asian. 
My wings have a European flap. 
My neck is long like an African Giraffe. 
I speak like a sphinx.
She was my mentor before Oedipus’ twisted fate undid her. 
I can still see the confusion and fear on his face
before he took her life.
It is the same look one-way folk study me and my parts 
that flash, yet are dull, 
wet and yet dry, cultured and yet wild, 
deep and yet foolish in their eyes. 
They cannot make head or tail of me.
I am a mythic creature.
I really don’t exist.
I can’t.
Quite illogical. 
Why does she not fit into our definitions,
our boxes, 
our squares
with such pretty names like
white and black and red
or European, African and Asian?
Everything else goes but her. 

"You really must forgive me. I have tried, when I was smaller, to put my paw, excuse me, foot into your boxes, but oddly, it would not stay but leapt out and away quivering like it had padded, I mean, walked into acid. Your boxes are for you, and thank you so much for trying to share them with me, but you see, I just don’t fit."

Candice Raquel Lee
Author of  The Innocent: A Love Story  

and Effed Up: An Abnormal Romance