Poem 1: Blacktino

Teasing Tan
or golden brown
am I talking about my skin
or how I like my maduros
it may be how I describe my mood though
I am black enough
to be black enough
to be called a nigger
to see myself on the news
like I pulled the trigger
yet too black for me
and too black for my identity
because Latino isn’t a race
and brown isn’t a color
I am too dark to be called either
unless you are hiring
then being Latino is welcome
because we are good
at picking tomatoes
cooking your potatoes
installing your plumbing
and that is just the Mexicans
they wont take offense
because I am too black for them
I am a student of life
that was raised Puerto Rican
called my grandma abuelita
and made fun of my father’s pipa
I can give you a history of a people
from the Young Lords to Truillo
but I am too black to be Latino?
not according to the Census
because I exist
outside the lines of
black and white
you might as well call me gray
because gray goes with
white and black
can live on either side
can combine
can intertwine
and can be divine
fluid is this identity of mine
I don’t lie about my afrocentricity
I don’t hide my roots
but my people get the boot
because now we are too black
for Sammy Sosa
skin cream means skin hate
when did it become uncool
to have a Caribbean tan?
when did it become uncool
to eat a platano
but not look like one?
I am Blacktino
Afro Latino
Latinegro
I am all the best parts
of Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean
I am the all encompassing
culture that is so
deep and dangerous
that blankkkitos make us invisible
unless we play soccer or baseball
I am black enough
to be black enough
to be called a nigger
but too black
to be called Latino.
Go Figure.

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