“My Value Is Too Great” – poem by Mydalis Vera

You’re not better than me

Because your dialect is prominent and accepted

You want my language to die here so yours can prevail

The war has started to keep us alive

Yet all you care about is what comes out of my mouth

We are similar, we share words, yet you always want to be better than me

You want to be the only one when all I seek is coexistence for us both

Extinction is what I feel you want from me but why

Why does it bother you

Is it the sounds I make with my r’s

Or is it the beautiful pictures I make when I speak

 Is it the beauty of me that makes you want to destroy me and bury in an endless pit

I’ve heard your remarks and you’ve heard mine

Yet you still wish my annihilation when all I wish is our integration

You say its right I say it’s wrong

Which one of us will win

The outcomes come and it will be

My obliteration or our incorporation

My Armageddon or our assimilation

My devastation or our combination

Can’t you see I do not wish to die

I want to live on in my peoples’ minds

I’ve been music and songs and poems and stories yet all you see is the boundaries I’ve caused you

Your are so alive here in your land

And you say that we are all welcome

Yet you want to transform us and restrict us and limit us

We come from the same parent yet you treat me so unequal

I feel lesser now that I have to prove to you my value

A proof that has not been asked of you

Yet you want us to feel welcome

We share principles and morals and codes and on the surface we sound different but we share the same alphabet

Please let me be

My culture needs me

Do not hurt me

Do not kill me

Let me remain in those who believe in my significance

In those who have heard a mother comfort her child

In those who have helped translate for someone who wants to vote

In those who have heard someone with a beautiful voice sing me

Please let me remain

The love I share for my culture is too great

Do not use us and then think to throw us away

We are here welcoming a new language

Welcome us with open arms

Do not ruin an opportunity for a magnificent relationship

Let us grow old together

To change each other

To learn from one another

Give us a chance

 

(Notes: edited by Prof. Monica Torregrosa. The image is from quis-immigration.org)

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4 thoughts on ““My Value Is Too Great” – poem by Mydalis Vera

  1. The author writes… “This poem is an expression of my feelings for an important topic that came up in my Spanish class. We were discussing the English only laws and our homework was to go home and take some pieces of the articles for a debate in the coming weeks. I was in my room and as I read through the articles my frustration and anger escalated because I come from a family who speaks Spanish and I know the importance of keeping the language alive. The only way I could let go of my frustration was to write and so I just wrote and wrote until I felt better and this poem is the product of my emotions.”

  2. Mydalis,
    I applaud your courage to speak your mind in such respectful and eloquent way.
    Your words are powerful and encouraging. Keep up the good work.
    I remember when I came to this country twenty-one years ago. My “accent” was acceptable, but when I couldn’t find the words to express myself in English, the frowns appeared. I still get that reaction today. Back then, I changed my name to sound “American” no rolling of the “r” in my name and no “ñ” on my last name. And when I was asked where I come from, I would say “Potorrico” to make it easier for the listener. Soon after, I realized I was conforming to the American societal expectation. Just like you so beautifully described it in your poem, I felt I was pushed to change my name, improve my “accent” and adapt; but not belong.
    Today, I proudly pronounce my name the way it should be, with lots of rolling in the “r” and with the “ñ” on my last name: “Myriam Quiñones; and I am from Puerto Rico.”
    Just like one day I was educated and made aware by a fellow Boricua, today I make it a point to educate anyone who comes from another country and changes their name or the pronunciation of it, just to please this society.
    Good luck on your endeavors.
    Myriam Quiñones
    Coordinator of MAS Prgm
    Frost 262

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