On the Question of Race,
Michelle A. Banks - 1991
ON THE QUESTION OF RACE
They ask me to write down my race
and I think and think very seriously
and consider writing down the truth
and have my answer read
I have another woman
who looks like me.
She comes to me when I am dreaming,
she is trying to teach me the words
to a language that I used to know.
I have a brown man
he is painting a picture
we share a secret,
it hides in the memory of a kiss.
I have an old man
he is singing patting juba
passing the tradition on
through the rhythms in his
I have all these voices
that have not yet learned to speak -
a school girl in Bahia
and a young man cutting cane in Miami
inside this body.
Students are invited to write a similar poem by making eight
lists of the things that they have inside of them.
- Food: What are the foods that one has
inside of them. They could be the breakfast that had at
lunch, it could be the restaurants that they eat at e.g.
McDonalds, Wendys. Sounds
- Smells: What are the Smells inside
of them. Smells that bring back memories: When I smell
cigar smoke, it brings back memories of my father. My
wife whenever she smells Aold Spice@ she recall her dad.
- Voices / Sounds: What are the voices
inside of them. Words that we have heard and that are
always with us. It might be words of a song. Sounds like
fire engines, gun shots, birds, dogs barking etc.
- Dreams: What dreams do they have inside
of them. This could be about real dreams or goals that
a student has for their life.
- Places: What are the places they have
inside of them. The country, state, city, neighborhood
that they are from, the school they attend is a place,
they have inside of them, Church, grocery store, Resturarant,
what are the places that identify one.
- People: Who are the people inside of
them e.g. the relatives, loved ones, friends that they
love or who are close to them.
- A Memory: What is a favorite memory
they have inside of them, e.g. a first communion, first
day at school, first swim,
- Games: What are the games they have
played as children that are inside of them, e.g. t-ball,
- Other lists can be substituted: The
idea being the more words that the students have on their
list, the easier it
ON THE QUESTION OF RACE,
by Gilbert Guarjardo
LA PREGUNTA DE MI RAZA,
by Jacqueline Eggers