|[Photo Credit: Mario D Lemafa]|
by Luzviminda Uzuri "Lulu" Carpenter
I know what it is like to be passed…
from community to community
And passed by with no notice of being Queer
Of being Filipino
Of being Black
Of being Christian
Of being Radical
But still marked as "other"
That not only my body,
But even my spirit is weary from these travels
I have been passed around so much
That I was late in understanding my identities…
As Drag Queen
As Gender Queer
As a Believer
As Faith Healer
Even As Lover
I am draw upon as something unknown
As some Thing not to be.
I am marked as NOT the NORM
As NOT the STANDARD
So I marked my body with tattoos
And exposed the drawings of history
That traced my back
Back to my ancestors for protection
And forgotten memories
I have been read by others!
And their experiences
through their eyes,
they carve fears on my Black & Brown /Queer/ Body
Sometimes they use ropes
And I have grooves upon my wrists and neck from the strain
Stretched skin forms lashes of memories
Marking me dangerous and visible
New lynching ropes in modern times
These lashes are made with fake Asian accents to cross out my mouth
Marking me invisible once again
My story erased
So I have put substances into my veins
To blow them off my mind
My Body makes marks on communities!!!
As folks wonder where I fit
NO SAFETY as I have stood with hands and mouth
With no excuses!!!
So I can just pass into sleep
To dream and believe.
Without my moves being watched and examined
so I can hum songs of my history to rock me to sleep
Upon waking my body vibrates with memory
So when shaken daily
light can shoot through my eyes
As I answer questions
Maybe not, but definitely a Black Queen, a Queer one.
Filipina ka ba? Are you Filipina?
Opo! Yes, Filipino ako,
but not made for beauty pageants,
“Bakit? Why?” I ask
“Kumusta ka na?”
“How are YOU doing today?”
Since you forgot to even greet me.
but crossed too many times
And marked with racism and poverty
As my body moves in spaces.
So I put folks on Notice…
“YOU are on NOTICE!”
Since you didn't notice that my body had a name
Luzviminda for the Filipina Babaylans murdered
Uzuri for the African slaves forgotten
I have stamped my name on my Body
To remind me
And stamped the places my Body has traveled
And passed throughout time
And I carry it on my back
A willing target in old age
And old rage…..at judgment.
And move past me
So I can focus and remember who I am
And who my ancestors are
Without the blockages of eyes and ears
On my road to communities
And all my people's liberation.
© Luzviminda Uzuri "Lulu" Carpenter
Printed here with permission. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the artist is strictly prohibited.
See Lulu perform this piece --> at the first Raising Mixed Race signing