Had you not violated Her shores,
the cute curl in my hair might’ve been stillborn;
but if you had never plagued Her
my heart would have more
than just dreamed
of feathers on my crown,
of driftwood necklaces
dancing areitos on my breast.
Some have argued that
had you not come when you did,
then an entire people would have missed
the arts and horses and blessings and gifts
birthed out of La Santa María’s belly.
I’ve tried to see things as they
searched for ways to celebrate your alleged good;
but there are no blessings to be
in the burning of Hatuey,
in your rape of my Quisqueya.
In my dreams of Discovery,
your chicanery drowns before reaching India.
Yes, I would miss my darling curl,
but never enough to wish you
a happy day of breath.
Decolonize Your Mind, by Eloy Bida
- just in
case the poem’s lack of subtlety is not subtle enough, I’d like to let everyone
know that I really, really, REALLY loathe the way history
has portrayed Christopher Columbus and his so-called
discovery of America.
- for Poets
and Storytellers United--Writers’ Pantry #93: NaNoWriMo Anyone?
Oh, I got it! I live in a colonised country too, though I am not indigenous here, and am partly descended from some who were indigenous in another (India). Not much to choose between the Spanish and the British as colonisers.ReplyDelete
I've yet to meet (or learn of) a good colonizer. Maybe things will be better for the children of our children's children.Delete
And my people are very mixed, too--as my appearance shows. I just wish we could've claimed the roots without all the suffering.Delete
Thank goodness racist colonial history is being revised at last.ReplyDelete
Thank goodness, indeed! It's happening slowly... but it's happening.Delete
Stunning write. Happy Sunday. Viva La VoiceReplyDelete
Thank you, Gillena.Delete
What a sad history we have. I love the way your curl comes into play here.ReplyDelete
Let's hope that we can create better things for those who will come after.Delete
wow, this is telling like it is. It is always like this, the strong will take advantage of the weak.ReplyDelete
and i really like the title.
I wish we lived in a world where the strong helped those who can't help themselves. Maybe one day...Delete
" I really, really, REALLY loathe the way history has portrayed Christopher Columbus and his so-called discovery of America."ReplyDelete
i resemble this poem, its a riddle that has rattled around in my head since i was 10 years old and became aware of my heritage, had he not come (and the nightmare it created, the massacres he himself perpetuated and all the massacres that followed) would i even exist? how would my grandmother meet my grandfather an ocean apart? if time travel were possible, would i be willing to sacrifice my existance for the restoration of the lakota nation, my grandfather people, all the other native people? thats something i haven't thought about in a long time... pure riddle.
the past is the past though, and all we can do is move forward, and in doing so, we need to remember the past arcuately, the good the bad and the ugly, exactly as it is. in all of our national and regional wars over history, the spoils go to the victor, and one of those spoils is the telling of that history, and those histories become more patriotic than honest, but don't have to do that. right now it seems that white america is undergoing a crisis of identity, and it hasn't been pretty. right now it more important than ever to know our history accuatly. obviosly, this poem struck a cord for me.
magaly, this poem is spectacular, thank you so much for sharing it, and from a purely poetic point of view, i think its one of the best you've ever written (that i've read anyway) so well written, love it!
Thank you, Phillip. I think we've existed anyway. Maybe we would've looked different, but a version of us would've lived. Still, like you say, what has happened already happened and we can't change what was. All we can do is make the future a bit better.Delete
One of the things I love about poetry is that the reader doesn't need to fully understand it in order to love it. And your poem did this for me. I liked it before I even understood what it was about. Brilliant write!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much, Khaya. I am so glad you feel it so.Delete
It's unfortunate that people like Columbus are celebrated. If we look hard enough we can find people in every nation and in every century who are worth celebrating but we mostly only seem to celebrate those who grab power at the expense of others.ReplyDelete
It's an unfortunate shame indeed...Delete
I agree with Phillip, one of your most spectacular poems ever! I celebrate your curls.ReplyDelete
Thank you, my beautiful Helen!Delete
I am definitely in favor of not giving the evil rapist of lands and people a second more of veneration. I'd happily trade away my curls too.ReplyDelete
Not one more second.Delete
Not everyone or everything in the past is praiseworthy, and we need to acknowledge that certain people and acts are loathsome. But...I think it's unwise to keep looking back as we are trying to move forward, because we need to know what's ahead so we can avoid the pitfalls of the past. (I haven't said this very well, and I apologise.)ReplyDelete
Moving forward is a always a very good course of action. It's one of the reasons why fixing what's broken, removing what's rotten, and making sure that history shows reality--and not the fairy tales of the 'winners'--is so very important. I wish for the day when we can truly move on... But for now, I think we have too much work until we get there.Delete
Wow. Just wow. Your voice is so very loud and it is a wonder to hear. I have always wondered how the stories would change if the past was rewritten in different voices. Even if we can't change the events we could at least show another perspective.ReplyDelete
Perspective is an illuminating thing when it comes to history...Delete
What a powerful poem, uncovering the historic myths that need to be exposed. The stories told in the voices of the native peoples of so many lands would indeed be enlightening. There are heroes in every generation, just so often not those we're presented.ReplyDelete
You've said it so well, Bev. Your last sentence will stay with me.Delete
Not an easy read but from the heart, Magaly. That makes it special and worthy to be told.ReplyDelete
Not easy at all. I always have so much trouble writing this kind of pieces. Every time I do, I have to spend some time trying to feel less angry.Delete
This was so powerful, raw and visceral...very potent imagery and feelings imbued in all these illuminating words. I loved it! I always feel shifted by your authenticity, truth and beauty. History is not pretty and it needs to be seen clearly.ReplyDelete
"History is not pretty and it needs to be seen clearly." Yes, ma'am!Delete
this is an amazing poem. and i'm with you. the whole thing is just wrong.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much, Laura.Delete