Woven

Woven

A Poem by Livana Lowell

People ask me
what I'm mixed with
like I'm supposed to reach into the tapestry of my ancestry
and pull something out like there's no kind of beauty
in just being black
almost like they meant to ask
me to push aside the black part
of me and paint it some other color
but I find I don't want to
because black is beautiful. 

Now when I was young and had low self esteem
thought ugly the most beautiful part of me
like I used to hate the color brown
and how every time I looked down
I would see it all over my skin.
I would pretend
sometimes I was Mexican
but couldn't speak Spanish
or white 
since I didn't fit into my own community right
outcast by the color of my speech
and skin as if I went to the store and stitched it on me
Inside of me, begged a girl
to be seen and heard
as a strong black woman I knew I would become
strong as Lucy Terry Prince when she defended
the right to good education for her son
as thoughtful as Zora Neale Hurtson
free and protective of my identity like Janie
strong willed as Sojourner Truth
when she escaped to freedom with her baby
full of action like Frances Lee Harper
as lively as Alice Walker. 
And when that strong woman came alive,
I embraced her with so much pride.

So this light skinned sister
grabs the hand of my dark skinned sister
so that we may understand 
that we are rich in diversity but from the same land.

So when you ask me
what I'm mixed with
I'll unfold my tapestry 
and tell you the darkest parts of me.

© 2016 Livana Lowell



Author's Note

Livana Lowell
Soooo, what you think? Janie is in reference to Their Eyes Were Watching God.

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Featured Review

Embracing yourself brings unearthly power. I was moved. I puffed my chest out and raised my chin up and took a quivering breath for you. I'm proud of you. Now for the poem itself, I think you have a way with words that cuts to the heart and threatens to rip it out with sheer honesty. Don't flinch, keep the honesty in your writing.

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Love this poem! This line says it all for me 'And when that strong woman came alive, I embraced her with so much pride.' Perfect outcome:)

Posted 22 Hours Ago


Thanks for sharing. I don't think that it matters what you are mixed with. Embrace who you are. We are all part of the human race as far as I am concerned.

Posted 1 Week Ago


An extremely amazing poem. I loved each and every word of this piece. The story of colour dominance cum prejudice is empowering and thought provoking. Very well done. We should never let any criticism affect our persona and esteem.
A brave poem.
Thank you for participating in my contest.

Posted 1 Week Ago


Embracing yourself brings unearthly power. I was moved. I puffed my chest out and raised my chin up and took a quivering breath for you. I'm proud of you. Now for the poem itself, I think you have a way with words that cuts to the heart and threatens to rip it out with sheer honesty. Don't flinch, keep the honesty in your writing.

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Being a black teen, I can relate to this poem so much in that I always hear blacks making fun of each other and/or showing negativity towards their own race. I've heard dark-skinned blacks make fun of other dark-skinned blacks for having dark skin ... what type of sense does that make? I've also heard many instances where blacks claim to have "Indian" or "Mexican" in their family, as if that makes them better than evey other black person. I also hate it when blacks call their natural hair "bad" and refer to straight hair as "good" ... such things are a matter of personal opinion ... you can't label them as "good" or "bad."

Anyways, I enjoyed this poem because of how eloquently it captures your struggle with racial identity. It stands as both an inspirational message and a truth of beauty that blacks (or people in general) need to embrace. I really enjoyed the last two lines because of how perfectly they conclude the poem. As a whole, I like the "tapestry" analogies because of how they illustrate the various ancestral influences that make an individual who he/she is.

For critiques, in the line "in just being black" I'd omit the word "just." The same applies to the word "now" in the first line of the second stanza. Also, the line "outcast by the color of my speech" was too vague for me to understand.

- William Liston

Posted 3 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Livana Lowell

3 Weeks Ago

Your reviews always make me smile. They have a great blend of critiscm and compliment that i enjoy r.. read more
For me this is when poetry or writing is at best - when it is expressing some heartfelt personal feelings. You've expressed very articulately how you feel about this issue that you have had to face through no fault of your own and only due to the prejudice of others. Well done! Hope you have a great new year and you keep writing great things.
Regards,
Alan

Posted 3 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This poem is true for me. Mexican father and white mother. I came out white in skin and sisters came our brown.
"So this lightt skinned sister
grabs the hand of my dark skinned sister
so that we may understand
that we are rich in diversity but from the same land."
The above lines are very true. We must know our heritage and be proud. Thank you for sharing the amazing poetry.
Coyote

Posted 3 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

"lightt"

I like your sense of identity and ownership of your own existence. You have a "presence" I'ld like to hear.

Posted 4 Weeks Ago


Livana Lowell

4 Weeks Ago

aw thanks for the encouragement!
oh yeah!

i agree. we are that never ending tapestry. it's holiday time again and yet again we will sit and turn the pages of the photo old albums. It makes my mother seem normal if just a few moments; dementia has taken the best parts of her resolve and even the worse parts of her memory. but she will tell us of how her cousin passed for White and won the Ms Michigan beauty contest in the early thirties. And we will look hard at that now faded photo and again ask ourselves, "what difference does it make'?. And if that beauty queen could speak again I am sure she will tell us about the subterfuge that clouded the existence of Black Folk who had to hide their souls
behind another color just to touch the symbols of beauty, however pretentious those symbols were.

This is a great poem. A poem that was written with love and with an un-clinched fist......well done.....dana

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I don't have any way of actually identifying with what you're saying, except to say that when I was a short, skinny kid, most all my friends were either Hispanic or Black, and I never fit in, was always ignored or bullied for being a shrimp and white, constantly had my feelings hurt, always craved love and a good friend, and was always lonely and left out of games and parties, etc.
Anyway, I grew-up, got muscular, taller, very capable, and talented, and the girls all liked me, so I guess the best part of my upbringing was the lessons I learned in sympathy and empathy, how not to treat anyone different from myself unkindly or with less than friendliness and compassion … I really believe being mistreated throughout my formative years helped mold me into a far better man.
As for You and this piece of Free Verse poetry … all I see, feel, and relate to is a very beautiful, highly-intelligent, and very talented, skilled writer.
I sense far more than that, too, but I'll save that for myself … I love this piece, how honest, open, and true to yourself it is, and how it faithfully reflects a full woman's essence who's comfortable in her own skin. … a fine potential friend, in my mind's-eye, if I'm so lucky!
Great poeting, M'Dear*

Warmest hugs and brightest blessings of sincere thanks for sharing You! ⁓ Richard : )

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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11 Reviews
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Shelved in 1 Library
Added on December 19, 2016
Last Updated on December 26, 2016
Tags: mixed, racial identity, racism, internal racism

Author

Livana Lowell
Livana Lowell

Huntsville, TX



About
Sooo, hello guys! Not much to say about me. I've been a writer since I was in kindergarten. I used to write stories about dinosaurs surviving the meteor (my favorites ones usually lived) because I had.. more..

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