Books

Who am I? ‘My America’ and other poems exploring identity and diversity in the U.S.

Associated Press

April is National Poetry Month. We’ve invited readers from across the Central Coast to share their best original poems dealing with self-identity and diversity.

Here is a sampling of the poems. We will be posting new poems at sanluisobispo.com/entertainment/books throughout the month.

[»» Start at the beginning]

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Poems

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“My America”

By Janice P. Lynch, San Luis Obispo

My America is changing and I am saddened

I don’t want a colorless world filled with sameness

I live here to enjoy the diversity of mankind

And its many shades of humanity

I live here to be surrounded by those of many faiths

As well as the faithless

I live here to enjoy the freedoms fought for by many

Am I going to be forced to move?

Because of insanity and prejudice and narcissism

Because of power plays and politics and ignorance

What is happening to my rights?

To my country? To the land I love?

~ ~ ~

“Inauguration Day”

By Gloria L. Velásquez, San Luis Obispo

Whitey’s in the White House

It’s time to Celebrate

Let’s Make America Great Again

This Happy Inauguration Day

Bring on those Scalp Hunters

Name your price

There’s a White Nationalist

going to the White House

Bring on the KKK!

Bring on the Minutemen!

It’s time to March

with the Women’s March!

Whitey’s in the White House

It’s time to Celebrate

Let’s Make America Great Again

There’s a new Trail of Tears

filled with Muslim Bans

Refugee Roundups

No more Marriage Equality

Make War Not Love

Let’s build that New Berlin Wall

“Let me take you higher.”

on Happy Inauguration Day

There’s a new Masta’ on the Plantation

Bring on La Migra!

Bring on Internment Camps!

It’s time to March

with the Women’s March!

Masta’ Whitey’s in the White House.

~ ~ ~

“Women’s March 2017”

By Laurie Elmquist, Pismo Beach

With you,

we danced to the music of drums

shook our hips

carried signs so diverse

Some with race at their heart,

peace signs

and gender equality.

Save the trees, trails, and dunes.

We were teens, elders, and children,

rubbing elbows,

remembering veterans and their fight

for a free

and compassionate

America.

With you,

we danced until the rain poured down

the music grew distant

and we heard the swell of the ocean

steadying our steps

for the days ahead.

~ ~ ~

“xoxo”

By Ken Habib, Grover Beach

xenophobes are likeable people

once you truly get to know Them

and love the hatred and intolerance

and dread borne of ignorance

who’s to say That

they don’t know of what they speak

as they layer etiquette and courtesy

atop supremacist ideology

what’s not to like

about people who kill

benevolently and just to Kill

and not have their fill

bigotry and racism are the province of kin

accommodating with walls and jails and coffins

the godforsaken origins and languages

and religions and Complexions

~ ~ ~

“Identity …”

By Sharon E. Kimball, Avila Beach

There are those

who would divide us

based on race and gender,

economics and culture.

Don’t let them.

There are those

who would undermine

our Democracy,

our way of life.

Don’t let them.

Yes, we are unique

in personality and physiognomy,

in skills and talents,

but you and me,

we are really ONE …

forever connected

by shared DNA

from the same

Mother and Father,

forgotten by intervening

generations, geographics,

experiences and adaptations,

but still the same

inside

where it counts.

~ ~ ~

“My True Identity”

By Mary Anne Anderson, Cambria

I am the scion of dreamers and seekers,

wives and mothers,

survivors of war and famine,

deluge and drought,

of suffering

that kindled the fire beneath their feet,

quickened their steps.

I sing the song they once heard

but could not remember.

I am their wings and wishes

living out loud

climbing solo toward the sun

scattering petals of hope along the way.

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»» There’s more: Click here to read the next set of poems

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San Luis Obispo County poet laureate Jeanie Greensfelder reads her poem "At Sweet Springs Preserve," at the location of the same name, in March 2017.

»» More poems: In troubled times, SLO County poets seek to comfort and inspire

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