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. 

I sniffed the perfume of their legacy

The sweat of their stories

The little girl stopped begging

When she dried her tears and began reaching

Into a sky black like the ink that captures poetry

And pulled out yarn and began to weave

Hums flowing from her thick lips like rivers

She envisioned she would craft a mirror

To capture a reflection for herself full of roots and trees

A reflection of a light skinned sister

grabbing the hand of a dark skinned sister

with deep understanding

that both 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.

 


© 2017 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.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

I love the idea of ancestry being a type of tapestry.

"Unwoven" works on a couple levels. While there is nothing wrong with dissecting your many pieces, you don't want to pull yourself apart. Interesting connotation, and terminology that works on a couple levels.

Posted 1 Week Ago


Thoughtful, poignant and never pretentious or vacuous; as all great poetry is. Favorited!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 3 Weeks Ago


"we are rich in diversity but from the same land."
My ancestors immigrated to the USA from Sweden and Cuba. I'm a white guy, but on my Cuban side I may be closer to Africa than a lot of dark skinned sisters. Haha
I really enjoyed reading this. Your tapestry metaphor is lovely and the conflict, trying to fit in, is something that I and many others can connect with.
My favorite line: "outcast by the color of my speech"



This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 3 Weeks Ago


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:)

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 1 Month 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.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 1 Month 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.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 1 Month 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.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 1 Month 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

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Livana Lowell

1 Month 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

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 1 Month 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

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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465 Views
14 Reviews
Rating
Shelved in 3 Libraries
Added on December 19, 2016
Last Updated on February 1, 2017
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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