Grew up browner than the rest.
Browner as we swam.
Browner as we ran.
Browner by the day.

Nicknames, jokes, herbal remedies,
Applied on our faces our society’s insecurities.
Listened to another piece of advice unsolicited,
Instead of putting forth our thoughts uninhibited.

Or having conversations…
about the poems we wrote
or the dreams we rode
about the ideas we own
and how much faster we can swim now.

Our description came with an attached disclaimer.
As if to curtail our brownness with a feature tamer.
“Brown but with bright eyes.
Brown but with long hair.
Brown but with a pretty smile.”
Darling, we are brown and.

Don’t confine us to your prison of beauty.
Your narrow-minded idea of what pleases you aesthetically.
Your ideas, they come with a history
They come with roots reaching for your fragility.

From the last time somebody fairer than you
Told you they were better than you
Or somebody darker than you
Told you you were lesser than you.

Question, challenge, change, grow.
And if you’re still unable to show
Don’t slap your lack in our brown faces.
Or for that matter anybody else’s.

Our skin is not an excuse.
Not destitute,
Neither disadvantage.
Nor dismissible.

Our skin is not an apology.
It is a novel. It is poetry.


PAPEACHU REVIEW by Papeachu Press, Seattle