Tag Archives: Beautiful


Kindness is sexy. 

Kindness is attractive

Kindness is contagious.

Kindness is beautiful. 

Is this American Studies, too

I’m sorry this is not ethnic studies

I apologize for speaking Latino,

I forgot it was perhaps a little too foreign

For the mainstream palette, I’m sorry

For not remaining invisible, for

dreaming of houses in colors

to bright or exotic for your eyes

I’m sorry for forgetting

That my life, my people, my gente

My image, my walk, my food

My favorite smells, my history,

My yearnings aren’t the

Typical fare offered on

the menu of your usual

Curriculum, Lo siento

That you didn’t expect to

Walk around the corner

And find me, find us here

Walk in to this room,

And find that the farm hands

Had made it into the classroom

to open your mind to

new chapters in America

old chapters, really

turning yellow and leathery

under the long, beating sun

I’m sorry that you didn’t expect to

walk into the bookstore to buy

your books for American Studies

and find out that Americans

Came in brown, too

That along the long haul

of history, they’ve been muting

talk of Mexican speak

of Latino yearning, of

dreaming and desiring

to be a part of the American

story, part of the American

landscape outside the fields,

outside kitchen and lawns,

and hotels, beyond toilet cleaning-

We are tired of this crap, of this trap

That sees us as a sub-category, different

areas of study, as if putting us in ghettos

and barrios wasn’t enough, you want to

ghetto-eyes us in a particular branch of study

ghettoize the study of ethnicity

I’m sorry your eyes start to roll, like,

“Oh my god, this is not Ethnic Studies,”

I’m sorry your eyes can only see Americans

In black and white, I’m sorry your mind has

Not been able to afford-or perhaps hasn’t heard of

Color TVs, of 3D, that there are more colors

Than your mind can handle, that we aren’t

So turned on by sleek cars, Victoria Secret

Pimple-reducing crèmes and red meat

Charbroiled and grilled and smothered

With cheese, generic, processed, American

Cheese, without any chilies, hot peppers,

Cilantro, aguacates, tongue, or tripe,

What is it lie for everything to always be

So cheesy, so dead, so devoid of spice,

So sanitized, so prim, so proper

Do you really only want to see America/

American as red, white and blue

Doesn’t it make you blue, or see red?

To see so much white, and only the things

That remind you of you, to not see me,

and I quote you, here

to not “see color,” to be color blind

to which I respond, I know exactly what you mean

I don’t see gender, I don’t see queer,

You see, seeing color ain’t such a bad thing

It can be a beautiful thing

Cause take a good, long, look, I’m brown, and I think,

It’s hella beautiful and cool, too

Do you need a new mirror?

Do you need to dis-guise yourself?

If we are going to study America,

Can you please tell me what counts

as American and what doesn’t, because

I’m sorry, I’ve been dreaming, thinking,

Speaking, traveling and imagining in America

As a brown man, as a Latino, as a Mexican,

as an American, as an American Mexican,

in Spanish and in English, in Spanglish

since I was born, I’ve been hearing,

and grooving and chanqulando, to

Vicente Fernandez and Elvis Presley

El ultimo beso in My blue-suede shoes

Frank Sinatra and Pedro Infante

Let’s Fall in Love, Amorcito Corazon (my heart’s love)

Madonna and Selena

Justify my Love, Amor prohibido (Prohibited Love)

Shakira and Lada Gaga

Hips don’t lie, Poker Face

Santana and the Beatles

Maria, Maria is my Michelle

the Shins and Enanitos Verdes

New Slang, Por el Resto de to Vida (for the rest of your life)

Pit Bull and Tupac,

I know you want me, Until the end of time

Johnny Cash may have walked the line

But we have been living it for centuries

A beautiful dazzling existential dance of

Ni de aqui, ni de alla, not from here or there

Pero por todos lados hay venimos,

Siempre hemos estado. Here we come,

We have always been here.

Was/am/will be.

Que sera, sera.

Que onda? Post Modern,

Polylingual, polyglot mariachis

New wave banditos for justice, for peace

Cranking out corridos for millennia

Corridos and classic rock and rapeando

Somos mas Americanos, American Woman

All my life, Mexicano and American

Like two sides of a coin, flipping,

Flipping, both sides streaming in the air

I’ve been dreaming of beauty in all colors

Selma Hayek, Halle Berry, Kumiko Kunishi, January Jones, Moon Bloodgood,

I’m sorry I’ve fallen in love with your daughters, your sisters, and your mothers

That my look seems too ethnic, indio or dark for your pre-filled family portraitures

I’m sorry that you didn’t realize all this time I’ve been paying my taxes in dollars, not pesos

I’m sorry that I don’t sign off with XO, XO but with abrazos and bezos

I’m sorry that you didn’t realize that your country was mine too, our country,

I’m sorry if inside that saintly whit church steeple there isn’t a peephole

Big enough for you to see the amazing kaleidoscope of colors that stream

Across sky, across generations, across classes and masses, across these streets

In so many beautiful ways, so many difficult ways, so many hard to deal with ways

I’m sorry if it’s complicated, I’m sorry that you don’t get it, I’m sorry that

I’m not really sorry, that I love it, that I hope it gets uncomfortable and unbearable

So that lightness in being becomes coupled with the heaviness that’s been weighing

Us down, the weight that’s been strapped to our backs, that’s made for struggle,

That beautiful struggle for freedom, for fairness, for justice, for our brothers and sisters,

So that you can help take a load off Annie, cause we’ve been carrying this separation

Between communities, colors, families, and country for too long

Cause this is our America to study, our American studies, our American family

If you could just stop pretending that we don’t belong long enough to listen you may hear

That we may be speaking many tongues be we are speaking with the same tongues,

Stories that we all know and love, stories that embrace us, stories that tell our dreams

And the best and worst secretos, American stories wrapped in tortillas, tamales, nan, pita, calzones

Whatever you call Ethiopian sponge bread, & yes, even straight up white bread, too.

And, when we’re done we can have some pan dulce, Mexican sweet bread,

With a little bit of café and chocolate, and maybe we can start seeing our different selves

As more American than ever, as American as we want to be, to see America through

Each others eyes, to see America far enough to know the stretch its continents

Begins with you not being so impertinent as to define what’s apropos for this course

and it’s content, to try and make the American market solely on of your own making?

This is not a consumer’s survey, a consumer’s paradise.

We are not here to shop, to go for an exotic excursion.

I am not here to be exotic, to help you get your diversity on.

But I am here to ask, Are you so into yourself, you can’t get outside yourself?

Are you so blind you can’t see that there are so many others that area part of this American body,

This American polity, this American dream, as if there were only one American dream.

Is it not possible that there are many ways of dreaming this American dream?

Of speaking American? Of being American? Or is it that what’s bugging and offending you

The fact that you’re being asked to imagine American differently?

That American might not mean what you’ve always thought it means.

That you don’t even want to be asked that?

Does asking you to consider what America means to us

seem to go so far as to ask you feel like America is changing?

Like you just want your America back? Does it hurt your brain to think that

American was never the way it was? Or, to paraphrase a writer on the American family,

The way we never were. That the American dream is just that, a dream.

That every day we wake up to find out America outside of our reach,

Somewhere in our past, somewhere in our future, somewhere out on the road,

Somewhere between two destinations of airport gates, somewhere on an American sitcom,

Or a photography exhibit, a history class. But not here. Not right now.

And, not in what we are currently studying. Because perhaps what it means to be

American, how we have gone about making ourselves American, is by defining it in terms of

everything it is not. By defining it and sensing it in terms of who is not American, or a part of

the American experience.

And yet, we must ask if we are here to talk “American” why are we speaking Latino?

Perhaps because we’re tired hearing in the midst of talking about our American experience,

That there’s something essentially different from American values.

That it can’t be a variation on the dream, of our ambitions, of our desires, our plans.

As if somehow we’ve grown up and come of age here and we’ve escaped an American stamp

Or essence to our being, As if you could pick us, drop us off in Mexico, Paris, Germany,

Saudi Arabia, or Spain and they wouldn’t notice our American-ness

Rolling of our tongues, wrapped in dreams and scar tissue of our heart

My fellow Americans may generations ago

Your families came to America and my forefathers and foremothers

Welcomed you with generosity

We shared our land, our resources and our knowledge

Now it is time for you to return the kindness

It is time to recognize that we are a part of the same family

I am just wondering if we’re a part of the family nobody wants to claim

If you’re the uppity cousins who think you’re too good for the rest of us

America, I am just wondering if I could call you my own, f you would call me yours

If we could just call it even,

America, I just called to say, I love you

Because it’s been more than 500 years

And you’re all that I know.


-Robert Munoz