Cuando mi abuela me habló en su lengua materna,
Recogí pequeñas partes de sus palabras.
Tomé lo que estaba pensando
Y creé una conexión de Ideas Frágiles
En un lugar de Sin Sentido.
Me gustaría hablar con ella con confianza en cada palabra,
Pero no estoy en la condición correcta.
Escucho el arte que habla y yo respondo con nada más que
Alguien me dijo,
¿Dónde está la verdadera Libertad?
¿Dónde está la Libertad?
When my grandmother spoke to me in her native tongue,
I picked up wisps and pieces of her words.
I pulled together fragments of her thoughts
And crafted a bridge of Fragile Ideas
Through a land of No Meaning At All.
I wish I spoke to her with confidence in every word,
But growing up on the other side of the bridge
There is a level of Isolation in its condition.
I hear the art she speaks and I respond with nothing more than
Someone tell me,
Where is the real Freedom?
Where is Freedom?
Brandon Lee '22 (BHSEC Queens)
I came here when I was young
I bit my tongue,
For I did not know English
My learning was extinguished
For I could not distinguish,
I felt left out
For I had many doubts,
For I only had my aunt
And the only thing I did was plant,
I came here for a so called opportunity
All I wanted to do was be a part of the community
And know I’m separated from my family,
I’m starting to lose my sanity
All I can do is take bus and train
I’m not a fan of this game
For I am in reality….
Without my family
Anonymous '22 (BHSEC Queens)
She is in Los Ángeles
While I am trapped across the stupid frontera.
Necesito cruzar al otro lado.
Necesito a mi madre.
But I'm only nine.
No puedo cruzar.
La policía va a agarrarme.
I am alone.
No puedo verla
Ella me dejó.
Ella no me recuerda.
She doesn't love me.
Forever under the same moon,
La misma luna,
I'm reminded that she won't come back.
Leiel Mulakandov '22 (BHSEC Queens)
Why would you ask that
What is your intention
My hurt feelings
Me crying and running away
That’s not going to happen
I’ve had enough
Of you always assuming
Always thinking I can hurt
That I can explode
That I’m hiding something
Beneath my scarf
That I’m hiding something that
But I’m not
Why is it that when someone
Dressed like me are
But someone like you are
Why are we considered
But you are considered
Explain to me
But you can’t
Because you know I’m
And once in your life you’re
But don’t be upset
Because I’m not
I don't want to hurt others
With my words
I help educate
I help others to understand
I help the poor
So here I am
Into waking up
That you’re the
only one criticizing
While others are uniting
Habeeba Farid '22 (BHSEC Queens)
My name is Dave
Came to America and hopped on the wave
At the time I couldn’t even shave
Little did I know I was digging my own grave
My heartfelt like a cave
My momma told me to be brave
A path I must pave
A life I must save
Hear my story it’s my fable
Crying out I’m unstable
Thinking about the time I couldn’t sit at the white kids’ table
Illegal it’s my label
Cream cheese on my bagel
I’m so poor I need cable
Living this life.. not able
Mahsud Hossain '22 (BHSEC Queens)
We live our lives in hiding
But why? I’m not so sure
We live our lives in fear
Of someone walking through the door
To take us far away
Far away from home
They’d leave us poor and stranded
In a country not our own
Anonymous '23 (BHSEC Queens)
The screen always turns on
when I can’t slip into my familiar room
and the smell of good food covers up
the urge for mama to buy the next ticket home.
I am forced to watch different faces I used to know
with his prominent baldness,
her deep smile lines,
and always a pair of dark eyes reminiscent of mine,
slowly become old and
repeat that I should come home.
Out of habit I always
They will forever see
my crying face at the airport,
with braided pigtails,
and an unwillingness to move.
But they don’t remember
hands waving goodbye,
my too tired mama reaching out to grab my hand,
and my older sister by her side,
scared and confused.
They couldn’t have seen
blurry faces letting me go
turning into an orange sunset above the clouds,
into the warmth of mama’s lap,
into waking up in New York City
with colorful people moving at every pace
and infinitely tall buildings.
Lost through the screen is
Doris Chen '19 (BHSEC Queens)
He looks wary,
The cloth around my head
I am attacking him with cotton
Made from the blood, sweat, and tears of my African brothers and sisters
Sold by the tired ladies just trying to make a living on the streets of Jackson Heights
He looks scared,
The Arabic I speak.
I am attacking him with words.
Learned from my crying mother wishing her daughter would learn her mother tongue
Forced upon me by the Saturday classes, where I was the youngest in the class
He glances over to see my phone screen
The music I listen to,
I am attacking him by being American
Playing is a bland song that charted the Top 50 last week
Put on specifically to prove I am just like him.
He shakes his head
The reading I need to finish
Thick, dense pages of difficult comprehension
Put on full display for him to see
He is scared.
Of a young teenager
Just trying to get to school
Scared of me.
On the 7 local train,
Where I have sat next to a man
Who I am scared of.
Anonymous '21 (BHSEC Queens)
¿De donde vengo yo?
Soy de Nueva York
Mis padres son de Uzbekistan
Pero en mi casa
hablamos en ruso
Tengo mucha familia
En todo el mundo
Están en Australia
Y en América
Entonces de donde vengo yo
Soy de todo el mundo
Deana'20 (BHSEC Queens)
What are you?
I am Mexican.
3 simple words. With it comes tradition and superstition.
You sit there spreading lies and we are hated by what you imply.
I come from fiestas and mariachis, piñatas and maracas, sombreros and dresses.
I come from guacamole and a variety of spices in my meals. Pan, arroz con leche
It’s quite an appeal.
I come from religious values and a moral code.
Catholicism and faith.
I come from la Virgen Morena and god.
I am the creation of fine Mexican arts. Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
Clay pottery, embroidered cotton garments, colorful baskets with angular designs.
I come from Aztec ancestry, Olmecs and Mayans.
The empires they built and the reputation that precedes them.
The creation of the calendar and telling time by keeping watch at the stars.
I come from green, white and red.
The beauty of the Spanish language
Rolling my r’s, soothing lullabies and heavy accents.
My spanish is rich, it is bathed with emotion and ties me back to my home.
Each word warm like the sands of Cancún drowning with love as they sing a cheerful tune.
I come from the many celebrations my people have every year
Quinceañeras, Día de los Muertos and many more.
I am made and represented by the eagle with a snake on its beak.
I am the result of passion, love and the support of my people.
The many legends that have been passed on for generations,
the life lessons and the customs that have been so carefully embedded into me
I was raised with a strict mom who tried her best to not turn me into a “malcriada”
Tried to teach me what my abuela had taught her. Passed on all her rules and advice
I too was taught to bite my tongue to avoid punishments from my mom
I come from extended families, 10-12 children and old fashioned machismo customs
I am the result of Spanish colonization and cultivation
What are you? They ask.
I am the minority you so strongly reject, the one whose culture you’ll never respect
I am the one Lady Liberty has so rudely shut the golden doors on
The one you have all been trying to keep out of your precious racist America for so long
I am the one you claim and wrongly accused of bringing crime and rape
The one whose long names you try so hard to abbreviate
The one who washes your clothes, mows your lawn and does your dirty work
But it’s okay ‘cause today I refuse to assimilate
I choose to not let you uproot the beautiful plant of pride my parents worked so hard to nurture
And I choose to never forget where I come from and where I belong
America may be my motherland, but a Mexican is exactly what I am
Nicole Mendez '21 (BHSEC Queens)