A Day of Attempted Destruction

This world would chew me up and spit me out if I let it
It would quiet me, destroy me
Rob me of my God
Whiten me,
Erase the Brown in me
Massacre my indigenous ancestors
Undo the accent in my father’s name


It would anglo-cize my tongue
Remove the rolling Rs
Limping my hair
Uncurling the locks on my daughter’s
It would thin my lips and rethicken them collagened
Calling them new and undiscovered
It would claim my flesh in tanning bottles


Test medicines in my womb
Sterilizing my hopes for children
And call it reproductive rights
Shush me and call it women’s rights
Silence me and render it equality


This world would rip the hejab off my head
with threats
It would force citizenship on my people
and then call us [redacted],
ignorant, unqualified, Hispanic


This world would take my lands
and call me immigrant
refuse me education and then undocument me
use my labor and enslave me
claiming all the while to not need me


This world would destroy me if I let it
I resist and abate it
Prostrate it – only to God
Fists up, cocked up
seeds cannot die


Listen: Melinda Gonzalez performs “A Day of Attempted Destruction”


Author’s Note: All Puerto Ricans know what happens when you get hurt as a child; someone grabs you and says, “Sana sana culito de rana.” Right after, you wait for the healing that will come tomorrow, if not today. But what happens to the wounds that no one sings to or kisses away? How do we learn to heal them? To heal ourselves?

Dr. Melinda Gonzalez, a native of Newark, New Jersey with ancestral home in Moca, Puerto Rico, is an Afro-Indigenous scholar-activist-poet of Puerto Rican descent. She has performed poetry internationally under the name Poeta Guerrera. Her poetry ranges in style and depth. At moments it rages in political fire – angry at the injustices that plague the world. Other pieces are deep and personal – commenting on a painful childhood that has fueled her love for artistic expression. Having always searched for a deeper meaning and understanding to life, Melinda’s personal experiences in different religions has impacted her work. Her poetry captures her journey through life’s difficult emotions. She has been published in several literary journals and self-published two poetry books – Ramas y Raices (Branches & Roots) and ReConstruct.






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