Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Poem: Mixed Emotions

I wrote this poem six years ago. The first time I read it, at the Late Night Series Hosted by Laurie Carlos at the Pillsbury House Theater, I was knocked over by the audience reaction. It was the third spoken word piece I had ever written, and it was the second time I had ever read in public. It gave me the confidence to move forward with my writing, it helped define my niche in the spoken word community, and it is still a crowd pleaser. I think my poetry has become more sophisticated since I wrote this...but it is still my all time favorite. You can hear it recorded if you check out my brother Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria's CD Desconocidos.

Mixed Emotions

Are you mixed? What are you? Where are you really from? Your Mama’s white huh? You speak Spanish like a Mexican, Nuyorican. White boy with a tan. What ARE you?

It’s too bad you can’t identify
What I clearly can’t deny
I’m a fine, sweet lovin’, smart ass, smart mouthed, smart boy
With more history in my veins than you can ever hope to comprehend

I am a Swede-a-Rican, Negro, Native, German, Dutch, English, Scottish, Norwegian, Spic.
Praire Nigga, Island Nigga, Nigga Nigga,Faggot
And the next person that asks me if Puerto Ricans got big dicks
I am going to take mine out and choke him with it

What am I? Martian Motherfucker! I reply.
Or sometimes I quantify: 2/8 black + 4/8 white + 1/8 Native + 1/8 Puerto Rican
You do the math
I am tired of calculating the motivations and objectification of my ancestral relationships

It doesn’t matter what I say
You’ll make up your mind anyway
I am the Nigga that makes you grab your purse
I am the Spic that you love to curse
I am the low down, caramel brown, miscegenation revelation of this world’s future
I am Nefertiti & Piri Thomas
I am Harriet Tubman & Sitting Bull
I am John Brown & Jesus Christ
If you don’t like it that’s just too damn bad
I have had it with playing Cirque du Soleil
Contorting my face and my race in order to placate your fears

I know the story that you’d like to hear about leaving the jungle and my very first spear
How my Mom rode a Zebra with a bone in her lip
Titties sagging to the ground with a kid on each hip
How I salsa-ed to school
That I can use an abacus
How I feed the chickens in the morning
Worked the fields late at night
How I attained my manhood from a wildebeest fight
You’d like to know how many languages I speak
That I feel homesick when I go to the zoo
Well this is the point that I tell you to back the fuck off
Get away from me or my first in your face is the last thing you’ll see

I am from right here born queer in the Great State of Minnesota
Me, Charles Schulz, and Charles Lindbergh
Schultz illustrated, Lindbergh aviated, and I’ve navigated
The convoluted mimicry of this multi-racial democracy
I’ve checked the boxes
Tried to conform
Finally said fuck it and blew up the norm
I rejected the questions
I refused to be placed in a box
Marked other ethnicity/race
I am an Afro-Euro-Boricua-Fag
I’m so multi-national I should have my own flag
My roots are three continents wide
And no one can make decide to choose one or the other
The history of my father or that of my mother

My brothers and sisters
We are here to stay
Your time for a say in it has long passed away
You should have thought about that before you screwed my Mom
Raped third world women from Santiago to Saigon
I am a product of your perfidy, colonization, and slavery
Now I’m pissed off and roaming free denying your attempts to colonize me
It’s fairly obvious and plain to see
That I am the person that you’d like to be
Tiger Woods?
He ain’t got nothing on me

I am not your boy-geisha tropical blend
Dark skinned Latin melanin friend
I am proud to be Puerto Rican, Black, Swedish, Anishinabe too
What face you see is up to you
I am a chameleon I get to be everything inside of me
No limitations
No expiration date
I get to be in the club
I don’t need a pass
I am enough
If you don’t like it, fuck it that’s tough

I’m a mixed race diva from my feet to my hair
You better get used to it
I ain’t going no where.


  1. youre an awful poet. stick the diva-faggot catarsis up in yr ass.

  2. You are most certainly entitled to your opinion. Now, the fact that I have a book coming out this fall perhaps counterdicts your claim.

  3. I LOVE the new addition to the site that gave me the opportunity to hear you read this poem. Awesome!!!!!!

  4. Thanks Yuval! How the heck are you doing?

  5. doing well. Are you joining me for Capoiera this saturday?


Thank you for sharing your thoughts, feelings, and insights. And thank you for reading!