i’m 27, give or take a century and this is cisgender and thin privilege come forth beneath the white gay(ze)*

cupped in a memory of a month ago,
i inhabit an hour where each breath i
took served the purpose of fodder for a
deep analysis of the width of my ass

neither the afro, nor the latina
migrated below my waistline, sick of
the fiery catalyst of displacement
caused by a tongue that rolls,
chose sad over sass and
cry over crass,
chose, i belong and
will stay right here,
over more loss

although why this protest
must happen on the landscape
of my body, i do not know,

somewhere, in the kreyol
speaking depths of my
woken steps, an ancestor
spoke to me in a language
i immediately translated
to English (although the
sound of perpetually nearing death
and compassion sound the same
in any language
) and asked me,
“whose eyes were mine?”

i said, m’pa konnen, i lost track
in the eyes of a white latina,
needed to be the kind of black
she would shape, herself. needed to be
pixelated latina, crafted in cubic iotas,
projected malleable, mechanic,
and body prescripted.

i said, m’existe nan miwa, men
i needed the authenticity of all
afrolatina womanhood to match
myriad ways of whiteness, i needed
the afrolatina experiences of my
shape to be fully fleshed out
and seen behind the scene
san the sole purpose of being
pulled like pork for the devouring
and cookie-cutter desirings,
i waited to be full madivinez.

ancestor said,
this is the 21st century,
why are you still
gorged on asks
to live white gaze free?

i told her i wanted an ass.

i said, moun blan pa we k’em femn.
i said, mwen on madivinez ki paka
nwa, et fenm an meme temps.

i said, a white woman told me
she faces sexism, like i
never have. like i wasn’t
at that exact moment.
like my womanhood
wasn’t being denied
because of my
(kankou k’om pat
bezwen forme nan jan spesific,
pou fenm pou ou

and i told her m’transle sa’w di’m
an angles, epi li d’im m’fe ke’l fe
mal. mwen di’l ke’m fe mal, tou,
mwen vle konnen ki moun mwen ye
san zye moun blan ki fe k’om brule

she said, ou pedi?

I said, not anymore.

-Stevie Ambroise

*Lately I’ve been fascinated by how the white gaze makes it harder for brown people to exist in their bodies, but also what my momentary desires to make myself look “more like a woman” says about my cis-privileges and thin privileges, and how my looking into that seems to come up only when my body is being scrutinized and questioned, as if that’s even remotely the same thing as what trans and fat people face. Even in this poem, which has a lot of tough honesty for me, in terms of body image, there’s so much hypocrisy. I am the oppressor here, too.

I’m also interested in how those moments when I like a white person and want to have that specific media perpetuated afrolatina body, what does that do in terms of my connection to my culture, where I’m choosing white approval over who i am?


The Unheard Pain You Know

you know you didn’t birth the yolk
of growth to a flower’s bloom, and
you can’t wind-shake the thought
of the plagiarization of scars from your skin

this wound is copyrighted, but the world
named me as velvet-tongued martyr

these wind-whispers that touch
but cannot be have no interest to
the bristle-tongued burrowers beneath
rain they summon again and again
to create reasons for alliteration chains
to be swung, then hooked into a groove
for easy climbs and sudden drops.

these rugged scabs are not your land-
scapes, please leave me dry

yet, lasers of enlightenment swept onto dark
holes -irises- to stimulate a mass ejaculation
of breath at the nonconceptual,
the after sound of a gasp, a privileged disbelief

i hope you get lost in the dust
particles’ evanescence

as you kneel
at my healing,
what you think as ancient wisdom

i pray this poem implodes.
i pray you get buried
where the words
never know
to find you.

-Stephanie Ambroise