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The Love for My Culture

By Elexia Alleyne
 

Maybe it’s the Spanish running through my veins

That’s the only way I know how to explain it

Maybe it’s the r’s rrrolling off my tongue

See,

When I speak in Spanish

It takes the air from my lungs

The love for my culture reaches the sky

The love for my culture will never die

And while you get up and have your milk and cereal

Siempre desayuno con platano de mangu

Not no cheerios

I always mix it up

Con salsa y merengue

Constantly side ways glanced at

Like, she speak no ingles

Yo si puedo hablar, ingles y espanol

Hasta puedo entender dos y tres

Languages!

Confronted with problems like immigration

Forced to have my parties down in the basement

Confined to the more popular story that my family

Criss, crossed, and slid past borders

Trying to find a new place to live

Guilty of chasing paper

without papers

but when that visa is blinking green

It’s saying

“Go, go m’jita! Fight for your dreams!”

See, My mother came here with a belly full of

liberty and hope

She bore them both

Naturalization

the wiping out of my roots made legal under oath

invisible legally but

constantly contributing economically

Corporate America doesn’t want to see me

The fields y los barrios embrace queen

My culture has this game on choke hold

Americana y Dominicana

means I’m worth gold

With traditions so deep

And a passion this strong

The love for my culture

Will forever live on
Added: Friday, February 5, 2016  /  Used with permission.
Elexia Alleyne

Elexia Alleyne,  better known as "Mama Lexi" by her peers and loved ones, was born and raised in Washington, D.C. and graduated from Benjamin Banneker High School. She began writing in the sixth grade and has performed on stages all over ranging from The Kennedy Center, the Atlas, THEARC, all the way to the Built on Stilts festival in Martha's Vineyard. She was one of six poets to participate in Split This Rock's 2015 Fly Language program where she traveled to South Africa to share and perform original poetry with other youth. Lexi is a member of FRESHH, the 2015 DC Youth Slam Team, Words, Beats & Life and wrote and modeled for LOVE Girls Magazine. Currently, Lexi is a Speech Pathology major completing her freshman year at Old Dominion University. Her quote to live by is: "Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is an act of self preservation, and that is a method of political warfare." - Audre Lorde 

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