Think on This: Como tú

Our team at Community Food Action understands that we are working in a political landscape that is attempting to create an American identity through exclusion. This is a mistaken path, one that is also responsible for hardship and displacement, as well as emotional crises. In resistance, we strive to do work that is informed by and is in service of excluded stories. The quality of our work is based on cultivating our ability to hear multiple stories and craft responses to the specific problems people in Mt. Eden experience.

We know that assaults on our humanity do not make us less than human. The nature of these assaults simply allows us to see unjust political agendas for what they are. Oftentimes, we struggle against oppressive politics that attempt to define us, too often forgetting that we are already justly, creatively, and expressively political. Our experiences, thoughts, and words are pieces of our humanity–polychrome expressions of living.

We hope that you enjoy these words by Richard Blanco. His poem stirs anger and questions about identity formation in light of immigration and displacement, a reality against which CFA will not turn our backs. Please be sure to also read the poem that Blanco references, Como Tú by Roque Dalton.


Como Tú / Like You / Like Me

Richard Blanco

{for the D.A.C.A DREAMers and all our nation’s immigrants}

. . . my veins don’t end in me
but in the unanimous blood
of those who struggle for life . . .

. . . mis venas no terminan en mí
sino en la sange unánime
de los que luchan por la vida . . .

—Roque Dalton, Como tú

Como tú, I question history’s blur in my eyes
each time I face a mirror. Like a mirror, I gaze
into my palm a wrinkled map I still can’t read,
my lifeline an unnamed road I can’t find, can’t
trace back to the fork in my parents’ trek
that cradled me here. Como tú, I woke up to
this dream of a country I didn’t choose, that
didn’t choose me—trapped in the nightmare
of its hateful glares. Como tú, I’m also from
the lakes and farms, waterfalls and prairies
of another country I can’t fully claim either.
Como tú, I am either a mirage living among
these faces and streets that raised me here,
or I’m nothing, a memory forgotten by all
I was taken from and can’t return to again.

Like memory, at times I wish I could erase
the music of my name in Spanish, at times
I cherish it, and despise my other syllables
clashing in English. Como tú, I want to speak
of myself in two languages at once. Despite
my tongues, no word defines me. Like words,
I read my footprints like my past, erased by
waves of circumstance, my future uncertain
as wind. Like the wind, como tú, I carry songs,
howls, whispers, thunder’s growl. Like thunder,
I’m a foreign-borne cloud that’s drifted here,
I’m lightning, and the balm of rain. Como tú,
our blood rains for the dirty thirst of this land.
Like thirst, like hunger, we ache with the need
to save ourselves, and our country from itself.