Janus

For my final presentation, I chose to write and present my poem instead of doing a formal PowerPoint-type presentation. So here it is, final format. Enjoy.

*Note: As I was writing this here, the actual format (indents and such) were removed by accident. Sorry!

Janus

Janus

Janus, the Roman god of two faces
The god of beginnings, of transitions, of endings.
Look to your past, look to your future.
choose one, choose the other.
Yo soy Jano, tengo dos caras
cara mexicana, cara Americana.
Ustedes son como buitres, escogen lo que prefieren
un poco de aquí, un poco de allá.
¿Qué queda cuando terminan? ¿Qué dejan
            para que yo pueda identificarme?
You pick and choose what you please,
a little here, a little there.
But no matter what you choose, be it American
be it mexicana,
You always seem to find some flaw
in who I am.

Mexicana, Aztec blood,
coursing through my veins.
Soy guerrera, soy soldado, soy orgullosa.
By chance I was born on the other side,
“el otro lado”
Yet I am still from this “other” side.
Hablo español, nunca dije que no.
Así yo soy, así seré.
I see my people, slaughtered in their homes
But I also see my people
rising from the ashes
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Diego Rivera, Lázaro Cárdenas, Benito Juárez
Juárez, uno de nosotros, líder de su gente.
el Lincoln mexicano.
I am mexicana, con la m minúscula.
This is Janus, of México

U.S. American, my birthplace
Cedars Sinai, Beverly Hills.
Movies, actors, healthcare, education.
Everything people idealize.
But what about me? What about my family?
Barred by your rules, your laws.
I can’t drive to the movies with my mom without remembering
I’m committing a crime right then and there
You create these laws to protect people,
but all they do is separate us.
Who am I? Where am I from?
I look to the past; mom here in the 80’s
crossed a Bravo river to have me here
If I look to the future, where do I see myself?
Am I one of you? Am I one of
                                    them?
Esta es Jano, de los Estados Unidos.

¿Quién soy yo? Who am I?
I am neither here nor there,
ni de aquí ni de allá
I am Janus; I can see different things,
so why can’t I be of two different nations?
“You’re not American, you listen to that shitty Mexican music.”
“Mexicana, ¿tú? Ni comes jalapeños.”
What do you want from me?
I am who I am, don’t force me to change.
I walk through these streets; I’ve never been so aware
of all the hate I get for my pride
Soy orgullosa, I am proud,
Ain’t nothing gonna change that.
You can’t tell me who to be, you can’t tell me what to follow
I chose to accept this mix,
this capirotada de razas;
it’s fitting, actually, porque nací en temporada de cuaresma
la fecha de la capirotada.
I break these laws, these rules you impose on me
not because I want to defy the law,
but because you make me
Son mi familia, ¿qué quieres que haga?
son todo lo que tengo, lo único que tendré
Al final del tiempo, con tus leyes divisoras,
ellos son lo que me hacen seguir adelante
No me puedes definir,
because I am Janus, of two facets

But I’m done, I am so done.
I’m done with fighting; I’m done with pushing.
I’m tired of having to say over and over again,
why your rules hurt me so,
why your rules hurt others
Ya basta, ya no más.
Stop. Think…

“Se tiene que amar
para poder trabajar
en conjunto con el mundo
y poder progresar

No se debe odiar
ni nos debemos pelear
hay que amar uno al otro
y tener paz entre nosotros

Somos brothers, somos unos
tenemos que amarnos
Sin amigos ni vecinos
No podemos triunfar”

Funny, how these verses sound so familiar,
Oh yeah, they’re from my 11th grade “rap”
that won me first place in Modern/Classical language.
Funny, too, how at 17, I understood so much,
of what’s going on now.
Fighting, hating, it has to stop
Nada triunfará si continuamos así

Es tiempo de unirnos, juntarnos
Become the community we all fight for
the community we yell for at protests.
No more divisions, no more separations.
No more picking and choosing what pleases us.
We are all Janus, we all have two faces.
Es tiempo no de escoger, pero de acoger
nuestras razas, nuestras identidades.
Es tiempo de ver nuestros futuros.
We’ve seen our pasts, now it’s time for our futures.
What does it hold?
You tell me, for I …
no, WE
                        are Janus.

Divided

Divided

P.S. I have a picture in mind, of my face split in half with my two sides. It may be uploaded in the near future, hopefully.

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