ALL: I come from
CI: sodden slums sculpted into the sides of the andes mountains
grasping accents like lost relics of ancestry
hearts turning like compasses inside our chests
pointing to ash and soot of a country that once was
AH: I come from
swaying hips and volcano heat
From People who built empires in the shadow of the sun god
I come from mountain cities and Persian deserts
Curved concaves of Mosques carved by the creator himself
I come from the dust of earth dragons,
with accents as thick as the spit of firecrackers,
our ancestry rotting on red envelope tongues.
I come from bass that sounded like freedom
That’s been passed down for generations
And will be playing until the revelation
Because we are the chosen ones
The lord himself, blessed our tongues
CI: i am america’s alien
moving through earth with words lodged in a foreign throat #
i lit my tongue on fire
combusting the accento that branded my words
so the flames of two languages might cease to lick at each other
AH & AC & ED: You got away with it #
we scorched our tongues
but our skin is too dark to burn
we don’t get to assimilate.
CI: assimilation comes at a cost
my voice was only heard when its spanish ignited
ALL: at least you were heard
CI: my body was only white enough when covered in blisters
ALL: at least you were white enough
CI: there is no white enough
I should not have to burn my culture at the stake to survive
AC: Burning is just your metaphor
But it was our reality.
We lived within parentheses
our pain erased from history.
We’ve seen worse
through the slits of our eyes,
the chink in the armor
that guards this soul with a squint,
in fear that a white man’s hands
might gouge out the exotic,
in fear that he will tear off
the parts he does not like enough,
and swallow the rest.
ALL: but your suffering
does not validate your silence.
AC: We abided by white lies to survive.
Our silence saved us.
ALL: Your active silence was passive violence,
ED & AH: Strangling the very people you rely on to breath.
ED & CI: Letting the white man take your tongue and use it as his whip.
ED: Following him up
a ladder made out of the bones
Of black men and women.
AH: You are role models who refused to resist.
Rotten remnants of white servant sentiments
I am the most wanted man in america.
Selling my heritage like hemp or heroin
On street corners
My culture rhymes with culprit
Or criminal, committing crimes against your country
Caution. I slipped through leaky gates in your wall
Spanish siphoned from split viens
Bleeding out street side, I stain your sidewalks
Persian banned in households held together by struggle
Home sounds different in english.
Speaking native tongues that sound like death threats
Bookbags or bombpacks
What burden do you want me to carry?
I’m a threat either way.
ED: You think you feel pain?
You may be the culprit, but I’m always caught
Black boys are criminals,
is what we’ve always been taught
As white boys
chew and spit out our lines
That burn of our
Screaming how police are still spilling our blood
With no discretion.
CI & AH & AC: your bloodstream turned mainstream#
America was too preoccupied by dead black boys
To see our bodies.
You can’t save yourselves by blaming me.
We’ve been running this race for centuries
keeping score in unmarked cemeteries.
AH: Our ancestors lie side by side.
CI & AC: Sometimes # I mistake your pain for mine.
ALL: We all stand on the same firing line.
ALL: Why are we fighting over who shed more blood
When we should be fighting `he who left us bleeding here in the first place?
Do you see the colored corpses
crushed to concrete
by the carnage of this country? #
We are the same shade of blood. ##
Oppression was never a competition.
ED: I am tired of winning.
AH & CI & AC: I am done trying to beat you. #
ALL: We all have the same wounds.#
Bullet holes for eyes and throats.
We see the real crime now. #
We won’t let the guilty loose.
Our voices are loaded
And we shoot.