What Mamá and Papá Taught Us

We jumped the fence and climbed the roof, and then we found tunnels where we could hide and shout. They said we were bad kids, but they didn’t know our history. They didn’t know that our ancestors crossed the border and some got shot. They didn’t know some of them swam the leagues of the ocean and some drowned. Those that made it taught us that there was more to life than following the rules. They taught us that some rules were meant to be broken for a moment of peace and wild laughter. We house the blood that is fiery red with the heat of the sun etched into our heads. They were blue and we were yellow ready to shine and blind and be missed on the paper. We sung to the spirits that protected us on our journeys as we risked life for one chance to live.

When we ate, we tasted the fruity, sweet, salty, spicy, and earthen dishes that our grandmothers taught our mothers who in turn taught us that life was about flavor and textures that engulfed our senses. We were hot and strong ready to run or fight back when our oppressors told us in school that we were lazy and our parents taught us inadequately. We learned to say please and thank you and fuck you all the while remembering that nothing weighed more on a life than turning our backs on those that hurt or loved us–we learned grace. We broke into the buildings that should have never been shut and picked at the locks that kept us out, but gave them access. We are fighters, lovers, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and tiny suns that will cultivate the fruits of strength and summer. We are culture.

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