CRUZ ~ a Spanglish poem



Written and read by my friend Madeline Cruz


You throw a glance at me

Quickly interrogating and associating

You categorize who YOU think I am.


Brown, Muslim, Woman. And probably a lot of other things in between.


Pero cuando comienzo a hablar

And my accent isn’t harsh enough

All of a sudden the picture is cracked.


Y voz de donde sos?

I’m glad you asked.

I come from a people who were colonized.

Salvages necesitados  y requeriendo de salvar.



In my surname I carry the reminder.

And how or why you ask does all of this matter?

Por que sus ojos quedan fijos en mi

Tratando de desenvolver

Unwrap me and see what is beneath.

I do NOT apologize for what it is you see.


The violent acts of the colonizer

Did not only come to save in the name of Christianity

But erased all histories of what Spain used to be.

So, I am a physical reminder

Visual enticer

That I will not follow

Simply to not be bothered.


I am done apologizing for my brown skin.

And I am done glorifying the colonizing hand.


Do not try to tell me my religion and where I am from –clash.

Could it be because before a man named Columbus could land

Moorish Spain had to collapse?

If you don’t know your history

I’d advise you look back instead of living up to a standard

In which you are only considered a bystander.


Don’t be taken aback by my words and manner

When you come from a people who

Are most usually silenced

Brown, Muslim, Woman


When we speak out this is the only way we know how to.


So, yes CRUZ—meaning Cross in Spanish

Clearly reminds me of where and with whom my ancestry lies

And Yes, the way I wrap my hair reminds me amongst many other things

That I am not who you want me to be.

I am not who you expect me to be

And I have unlocked

Histories forgotten.


So, in your glance

Do you see?

A Brown, Muslim Woman on her way to liberty?

Steadily peeling off the skins

Who would have ever thought?

That this is what Islam could’ve done.


Asalaamu Alaikum (Peace be upon you) your thoughts? Your comment, questions?? Please share

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