Valerie Marquez

At school…
They excluded me from their games
They called me names
That was hard to hear
“You’re not one of us.”
“Go back to where you came from.”
They pulled my hair
“Err, It feels like wire wool, a Brillo pad.”
“A toilet brush, even.”
Always taunting and making fun
I wasn’t permitted to sit beside them at lunch
And made to sit some distance away…
Yet when we were home
Living almost next door to each other
I was their new best friend
They asked
“If I scrubbed my skin with bleach, would I be the same as them?”
They told me, to do them a favour
And get back on my jam jar
I was baffled?
Fast forward to present day
Now an adult
The neighbours tell me
“We don’t see you as black!”
“You’re not like…THEM.”
I am!
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- *Material should not be published in another periodical before at least one year has elapsed since publication in Whispering Dialogue. *أن لا يكون النص قد تم نشره في أي صحيفة أو موقع أليكتروني على الأقل (لمدة سنة) من تاريخ النشر. *All content © 2021 Whispering Dialogue or respective authors and publishers, and may not be used elsewhere without written permission. جميع الحقوق محفوظة للناشر الرسمي لدورية (هَمْس الحِوار) Whispering Dialogue ولا يجوز إعادة النشر في أيّة دورية أخرى دون أخذ الإذن من الناشر مع الشكر الجزيل


  1. This poem really spoke to me as I’m sure it has to many others. I appreciate the way it illustrated an experience that many black people share and highlighted the very relevant issues of racism and colourism.

  2. Hello Donna,

    Thank you for taking the time to comment on my writing. I’m glad you found the illustrated language within the poem.

    Thanks again AV

Leave a Reply