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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