Last week, WITS Writer Daemond Arrindell shared a powerful poem with us written by Marylou Gomez, his partner teacher at South Lake High School. The whole SAL staff was moved by her words and the purpose they hold.
As we try to balance on the fast-shifting political landscape, it seems more and more necessary, either for solace or self-preservation, to step away from the lives and tasks we inhabit every day, and step into someone else’s perspective. Ms. Gomez says: “In this moment, / I’d rather be a poet than a historian.”
We have many lessons to learn as a country and a community—and sometimes, the best way to make sense of our current situation is to express our feelings in a new way. Ms. Gomez’s words speak for themselves.
In This Moment
(January 21, 2017)
You know I’m not a poet, Daemond.
I don’t even like poetry.
I’m a historian—
I think in terms of history lessons.
Today, I feel like a poet.
You see, Daemond,
Where I am, I will always be considered
I was born here
But, I will never truly fit in, always to be
and, so begins the history lesson.
You see, when the Spanish came and tried to conquer
they accomplished an intermixing and imposed their order,
And, I, I am like that casta
Tente en el Aire,
Perfectly blended so that no one can truly know
What I am.
According to the Spanish,
So perfect that the effects of mixing reversed
and placed one closest to
Tente en el Aire.—
Like the hyphen
Suspended between Mexican – American,
Tente en el Aire,
Floating between two worlds
Never belonging to one or the other.
But you see, Daemond,
They missed the lesson.
We continue to miss it
Because you must fly in order to glimpse
God’s greatest lesson,
A lesson only astronauts have seen:
This is one world.
We are one race.
I don’t want to think about history
As I sit with Devin, Keshawn & Jahyaire,
And we try to make heads or tails of this day.
I try to understand myself how more policing
Will rectify the self-evident truth that our men are being killed by officers
Reminiscent of Nixon’s law and order
Declaration of war on the Black Panthers.
That’s why today, I’d rather be a poet
So I don’t have to see the history lessons,
The warnings for humanity.
I’d rather be a poet than a historian
As I march with Citali and my sisters,
And we demand to have our voices heard.
She tells me of first and second graders
Planning on how to be orphans when all they should be dreaming of is being astronauts
I try to understand how hate will rectify poverty and make America great
Because to me honesty, humbleness, and service beget greatness.
All lessons my brothers
Cesar Chavez, and
Malcolm X can teach us.
More lessons we fail to teach and learn from.
There’s still so much work to be done.
But for now,
In this moment, Daemond,
In this moment,
I’d rather be a poet than a historian.