I Am: A Poem by Valerie Roxas

By Valerie Roxas on November 1, 2020
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I am my ancestor’s dreams,
dismantling and decolonizing my mind,
using my privilege as a tool,
Like a cub on the verge of transforming into a lion,
I am Simba,
turning my used to be whispers into roars

I am no expert at navigating this shit show of a world
There are times when I am the shit show
but
I can show you how to get off a struggle bus gracefully
I am gratefully still alive
Like dried roses, I am a beautiful mess of multilayered purpose
Petals on the floor waiting to be of service during its stemless life
Pour me into the bathtub
Turn me into potpourri
I am useful in every stage of my being

I am a vessel

I am a kid of immigrants
Torn between “I am Filipina”
and “I am American”
I am not enough Filipina in the Philippines
I am other on my own nation’s land
I used to be—English is my second language
I am now—I hardly know my Tagalog tongue 

I am stereotyped as a bad driver 

I truly am a bad driver

I am a bridge, connecting you from comfort zone to expansion

They tried to make me forget
where I came from
but as I am learning to
wash away
all the whitewash  

I am remembering

I am slanted eyes
I am a button nose
I am brown skin
I am morena
I am kapwa
I am proud
To be who I am 

I am disappointed in America
but I am an American
who will be part of its change.

I am hope

I am trying
I am trying
I am trying
To get things right
I am exercising my choice
I am a voter
I am a domino effect effected by leaders whose voices echoed through centuries of history
I am a person whose vote matters

I am registered 

I am asking you, are you registered?
Are you registering what I’m saying?
I am a voter

I am an alarm clock

I am a wake-up call
I am a calling
calling you out
Because I am you
And you are me
And we are community
And we are not free
Until we all are
So please,
for the love of god
Vote
Vote left
like our life depends on it
Because it really and truly does.

 

Lead Image by: Kanya Iwana

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Valerie Roxas is a creative writer, poet and self-love enthusiast based in Los Angeles, California. At the age of 28, she took her first trip as an adult to the Philippines with her parents and returned to America with so much turmoil and confusion in her heart around self-identity. This experience propelled her into a journey of deep exploration of who she is and where she comes from.

While a lot of her earlier work has been focused on healing from the heartbreaks of former relationships, her more recent work encompasses healing from capitalism, patriarchy, intergenerational trauma, and the deep seated wounds stemmed from childhood. 

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