Valentine's Series: Two Poems by Marina Blitshteyn

In honor of Valentine’s Day, all this week on our blog we’ll be posting pieces from our January 31st reading on intercultural dating and relationships. 

 

Identity Love Poem

 

It’s not true that when I love you

I don’t see race or ethnicity

 

To overlook it would be to ignore

the structures that shaped you

 

Outside a bar in Buffalo some kids

yell something at us from their car

 

It’s a little hurt but we say they

wish they were as fly as us

 

In my favorite city you read

Race Matters on the train back

 

Somewhere in Toronto couples

astound me, you blame history

 

A little hurt but we both confess

to loving this country after all

 

Here we’ve become accustomed

to asking ourselves questions

 

What would our parents say?

Do we have anything to declare?

 

How do we know each other?

I mean really know each other

 

I want to see clearly how it felt

All those lifetimes without me

 

I want all of the hurts to know

And I want everybody to know it

 

So what else could I ask for?

A million ordinary things together

 

A million ordinary conversations

A million little hurtful things

 

To be there and to know them all

To bear witness and keep going

 

Post-Identity Love Poem

 

But I’m not hurt, you say

Well I am, I tell you after

 

I’m speaking for you again

History repeating itself

 

Why not? I’m demanding now

everything you never told me

 

A million little hurtful things

All the way across the continent

 

And then together, the language

barrier, as any between two people

 

We are people again, ultimately

Or at least just two hearts

 

in two different bodies

And was it the body failing us?

 

Is that what we meant

when we talked about justice?

 

Is it enough to bear witness?

Where can we put our guilt?

 

“But you must keep on

because you write for all of us.”

 

“Please do it even when

you want to never think about it.”

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