Understanding Perspectives Outside Our Own: Reflections On Immigration & Identity Poetry

Something that I try to challenge myself with every week, is reading content that I don’t normally absorb on a typical day—meaning when I’m focused on love and relationship essays, I try to read about tech and design, or when I’m deep into commerce writing, I try to switch things up with poetry, etc.

This week, the focus was poetry and immigration, two seemingly unrelated topics, but both that forced me to take a deeper look at myself and how I must strive, every single day, to listen to and learn about perspectives outside my own.

Here’s a short collection of what I’ve stumbled upon, and what shook me to the core this week.

1. “In A Different Country,” by Ricardo Hernandez.

“In a different country,
I was allowed to forget

how there is no loneliness
like ours.”

2. This eye-opening article, There Are Children At The Border.

“We are obsessed, and when one is obsessed, everything around us becomes related, consequential, symbolic.”

The pressing relevance of this piece makes me feel guilty. Why is it that we only take notice of something until it really connects or pertains to us? What is the larger picture, here, about humanity and how to stand for one another? Thoughts to ponder.

3. “Man and the Moon” by Kate MacLam.

“There has never been a black man

on the moon.

There has never been a white woman

on the moon.

When Kubrick faked the landing

he was apologizing

for the genocides. He said

of the astronauts,

They must be white;

they must be men;

they must be educated

at the Harvards of the Midwest;

they must have blue eyes;

they must be hairless

all over their bodies;

they must be sad but look very happy.

They must do it for me.

They must do it for America.”

4. This gripping, gripping essay about immigration by Cristina Henríquez.

“Where is my son?” she asks a guard who speaks Spanish. He shrugs in reply. “¿Mi hijo?” she asks anyone who will listen and many who won’t. “He’s five years old. He has black hair, parted on one side, and a freckle, right here, under his eye. He was wearing a Spider-Man shirt.” People just shake their heads.”

This essay shook me to the core. I have no words.

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