Tamara Alvarado: A favorite poem

For Colored Boys Who Speak Softly
Yosimar Reyes

This poem reminds me of the five years I spent at MACLA as Executive Director. It was my joy and privilege to work everyday to bring the very best in contemporary Latino art to the community along with amazing youth programs such as the South Bay Slam Poetry League. The League produced excellent poets such as Yosimar Reyes. The strength and power of this poem inspires me to continue to work in the arts to create a better day for future generations.

Tamara Alvarado
Arts administrator, San Jose


For Colored Boys Who Speak Softly

For colored boys who speak softly,
I would build a stage on top of the world
Give them a microphone and let them free flow
Because they too have something to say
And this is more than rainbows coloring our face

This is broken spirits speaking for a better day
So in the tenderness of our words we carry blades
To cut ourselves free from gender roles
Build a life free from social norms
Redefine humanity and sexuality through our own terms…

 For colored boys who speak softly
I would sacrifice my tongue
Make an offering to the Gods
Pray to them to wash my mouth clean
‘Cause boys like us
Should never taste cum
And men should never lie with men
Because this is a crime punishable by death
And it is in this very same dark silence that many of us rest
Left bruised and dead

For those who speak softly
I would crucify myself like Christ
Let my blood purify and sanctify these words
Create a doctrine and go knocking door to door
Letting the people know
That the messiahs are here
That we are all messengers
Although, we embody the word queer

That we are a reminder
Of how colonization has destroyed NUESTRA CULTURA
They Burned our Villages, NUESTROS PUEBLOS

Implemented Homophobia, Sexism and Machismo
En las cabezas de nuestros abuelos
Brain washed our ancestors into believing
That boys like us are a manifestation of the devil

For colored boys who speak softly
I will remind the world
That
Centuries ago
We were
Shamans and Healers
Gifted warriors
Two-Spirited People
Highly respected by villagers

And now                  we’ve become
Nothing more                   than FAGS and QUEERS
Making ourselves believe
That capitalism will solve our issues

For colored boys
I will clothe and Cover
Every naked body
Used to represent our community
Because not all of us were taken into consideration
When they developed our identity
Telling us we should act like this
Exploit our sexuality
Rather than embrace our divinity

For those who speak softly
I will recognize
That there is more than one wound to heal
More than one struggle that we feel
But this ignorance
Blocks us from seeing the bigger picture
The greater evil

And these same issues
Transcend Borders
Because
Brothers and sisters
In Oaxaca
In Chiapas
In the Philippines
In Iraq
Are resisting
This very same system

For those who speak softly
I would slit my throat
Let this truth be proof
Of my loyalty
Make human dignity a priority
Because all of us are part of a deeper history

We are NOT what you call “immigrants”
We are People who live in poverty
We fail to assimilate
And continue
To fight racist policies

For colored boys
I will remind my people
Que somos diferente
Que Somos gente
Con cultura
Con orgullo
Con poder

We are people and with the people we stand
Breaking borders and stereotypes
Fighting
Systems
Like the one that exploited our hands

 For colored boys who speak softly

I will die in silence knowing
That the beauty in our color
Stands defiant to a racist, sexist, and homophobic GOVERNMENT!

Yosimar Reyes


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