Thursday, January 22, 2009

Child of the Americas

(this artwork is by stephanie dodson.

In the Sring of 2007, I took my first Womens Studies class. It was entitled: Women's Studies-Cross Cultural Perspective, and was taught by Sophia Arredondo. Words cannot touch how special this class was to me. It was a lesson in healing, in finding my own creative voice; not only as a woman, but as a survivor. During this time I was able to pay tribute in several different ways to myself and my life, as well as to my mother and her memory.

One of those was an assignment in which we were to recreate a poem written by feminist scholar/author/poet Aurora Levins Morales. This process was an absolute joy from start to finish and in the end I produced one of my favorite pieces of writing. Please read on for both Aurora's original work (which is lovely to be sure!) and my own rendition.

Child of the Americas

I am a child of the Americas,
a light-skinned mestiza of the Caribbean,
a child of many diaspora, born into this continent at a crossroads.
I am a U.S. Puerto Rican Jew,
a product of the ghettos of New York I have never known.
An immigrant and the daughter and granddaughter of immigrants.
I speak English with passion: it's the tongue of my consciousness,
a flashing knife blade of cristal, my tool, my craft.

I am Caribeña, island grown. Spanish is my flesh,
Ripples from my tongue, lodges in my hips:
the language of garlic and mangoes,
the singing of poetry, the flying gestures of my hands.
I am of Latinoamerica, rooted in the history of my continent:
I speak from that body.

I am not African. Africa is in me, but I cannot return.
I am not taína. Taíno is in me, but there is no way back.
I am not European. Europe lives in me, but I have no home there.

I am new. History made me. My first language was spanglish.
I was born at the crossroadsand
I am whole.

-Aurora Levins Morales

Child of the Americas (my version)

I am a child of the Americas,
a blond-haired, blue-eyed woman of
Norwegian descent, though my Norwegian history is forgotten.
I am slightly touched by an unknown ancestry that allows my skin
to brown instead of burn in the summer sun.

I am a lower middle class Caucasian American,
a daughter of a construction worker. A daughter of the labor union.
I am a product of the North as well as of the South of this
stolen land. This California. This, my home.

I am a child of prejudice and ignorance,
Transformed by knowledge…inspired by the world.
I am a woman creating her own reality, a woman empowered
by her choice to move through the world
unchained by dangerous ideology.

I was raised within a culture of abuse.
Alcohol, drugs.
Murder. Murder. Murder.
My young mother robbed of her life, ripped from her children.
A young daughter left motherless. A young daughter left to grow up with
A black abyss in her soul where her mothers light should be.

I am a child of the trees.
My connection to the earth and the natural, is my connection to "God".
I am a child of rock and roll, but have been utterly seduced
by the hypnotic rhythms and sensual beats of the electronic world.
I speak from that movement. I sweat from that movement. I love from that movement.

I am not a capitalist by choice, though I am forced to live as one.
I am not a victim, though people may see one in me.
I am not a proud American, though I am proud of who I am.

I am new. History made me. My only language is English.
I was born at the crossroads.
I am whole.

-Tiffany Kay Olson


22 January 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A bit about the name...

Why "The Proletariat's Daughter", you ask?

I have a true and deep respect for manual labor. I suppose you could say that it's something close to my heart. My father was, is and will be until the day he dies, a devoted union carpenter. I'm a tried and true union baby. Support of and respect for the Carpenters Union was instilled in me from very early on in my childhood.

Because of this positive discourse surrounding my fathers occupation, I came to look up to my father for the work that he did. I've always held him in high regard because of his unyielding work ethic as well as his dedication to the field of carpentry. Gratefully, my father passed on his tireless work ethic to me, his oldest child.


There is something so remarkable about someone that can build things. From the bloody, smashed fingers to the distinct scent of oily wood on their skin. The dirt and grim; and the wholesome tiredness that can only come from using your body all day long to lift and move and hammer and climb and carry and build. Over the years these things have become endearing and special. At present there is a little place in my heart where builders of things will always have a place.


I truly believe that basic carpentry is one of those skills that every person should have. It's one of those life skills that everyone (at one time or another) is pissed that they don't have. (Ahem, myself included!) Mechanics is another one. In high school they should teach Mechanics 101, Carpentry 101, and Finances 101. Seriously people! What the fuck am I going to do with the knowledge that I learned in Chemistry 101?


So that explains the name choice for my blog...with a few side notes.

Happy Building!


21 January 2009