Marc-Joelitza Montgomery is a writer and Year-2 student at BHSEC Cleveland. She is the recipient of the Literature of the Americas Award in the Spring of 2018. As well as the recipient of the World Literature Award in both the Fall and Spring semester of 2018-2019.

I don’t speak like you
or you
but I’m BOTH of you
there isn’t a RIGHT way to speak.

I may look like a little bit of you
and a bit like you
but I’m BOTH of you
there isn’t a RIGHT way of looking

Don’t exclude
Nor allude
Don’t have us feel like we’re nothing.

to feel undeserving
and deserted
and alerted

heart broken
and wrong worded–
the pure opposite of concerted.

–I’m hurt, I’m hurting and through my poem– you heard it.

but continue listening because I’m not done.

Being pushed away from who I am and where I’m from.
Being cautious whenever I choose to speak because I’m not wanting to get called dumb

Being called “watered down”–
“Not a part of either side”
“Lacking and missing some things”

My poem sings–
from the heart of a whole soul being wanting to be a part of and cling–

I thought it wasn’t possible
that it wasn’t realistic,
but then I met a group of accepting beings,
intellectual beings,
loving beings,
beings who make me feel way more than whole and complete–

Thanks for reminding me that I am MORE than nothing
that I am MORE than just 1 thing–
that I don’t have to pick a side,
or compromise,
that I am what I AM and that’s the THING.

I still get those comments though–
That I’m not this or that
Puerto Rican or Black
But I am confident enough to turn my back and feel intact.

Sometimes I do feel a a little bold and cold–
wanting to do something to make them THINK.
And so I say,

“well look at my dad and then look at me–
tell him his daughter is NOT black..
then repeat that back to me.”

I’ll give you a second to think.