ARAB.DOMINICAN.ARAB.DOMINICAN

Written by: Nadia Issa

 

This is a collection on my experiences of being Dominican, Lebanese, and reclaiming my Blackness, with all if its complexities through short poetic expressions. My poetry are continuous manifestations of my ancestors. They are all trauma and celebration, they are all poison and medicine. I write poetry to get closer to my truest self. I write to honor my ancestors. I am life-long learning to decolonize everything that is myself

 

 

 

Here begins my short Anthology

my very Dominican

very Diasporic

short Anthology

 

 

 

 

I am

Dominican

     and

Lebanese

and the deepest root of all: Afrikan

Soy Nadia Issa

 

I hold my Egun’s (blood ancestor) name; Nadya Issa

 

 

Soy Nadya Issa

Soy Mí Mama Alejandrina

Soy mí Egun Antonia, mama de mí mama

I come from mxtherhood, womxnhood

I am They/Them pronouns

Y Soy Taíno

 

 

 

Maferefun Egun.

This is my introduction in poems.

 

____________________

 

 

When I Started to Decolonize My Countries

And Found Pictures of Afro-Lebanese Folx On Google

 

 

wait a minute…

 

so…

 

Lebanon and The Dominican Republic can be Black?

can be Afrikan?

 

 

____________________

 

 

Mí Familia

 

Mamí

Dedi

Papá

Tita

Hermaná

Jeddo

Mamá

Alejandrina

Milad

Pedro

Nadya

Ana

Farid

Antonia

 

 

 

* Tita (Tyy-tah): Grandmother in Lebanese Colloquial Dialect

* Jeddo (Jehd-o): Grandfather in Lebanese Colloquial Dialect

 

 

____________________

 

 

Navigating Immigration

 

how did your parents meet?

 

/

 

 

crossing the street they said,

I’m sure it is a lie though,

maybe somewhere in conservativeness, immigrating to the states, and Boston

 

 

____________________

 

Lost

Have

You

Ever

Been

Lost

In

Your

Own

Home

?

 

To my homes in Cotuí and Hamat-Batroun

 

 

* Cotui: a city in the Dominican Republic

* Hamat Batroun: a village in Lebanon

 

 

____________________

My God Is From Yoruba

 

there is racism deeply seeped in the Arabic language itself

‘generic’

word

for

a

Black

person

Is

“abd”

translation

“slave”,

“abd”

=

“abd” Allah

*translation*

slave or servant of God.

I

am

not

a

slave

and

my god

is

from

Yoruba

[and they are not servants]

 

____________________

 

 

Questions About Visiting Home

 

i

 

Don’t you think six years without visiting The Dominican Republic is too long Mamí?

Is my hair too nappy to visit?

Is my hair to short to visit?

Is my sexuality too queer?

Is my gender too non-binary?

Is my gender expression too fluid?

Is my pride in being of Afrikan decent too beautiful?

Can we please visit? I don’t want to forget myself.

 

 

ii

 

I have never been to Lebanon; can we go?

I find it ridiculous that I am still asking this question, don’t you think Dedi?

Is my hair too nappy to visit?

Is my hair to short to visit?

Is my sexuality too queer?

Is my gender too non-binary?

Is my gender expression too fluid?

Is my pride in being of Afrikan decent too beautiful?

Can we please visit? I want to learn about this Home that I have never moved into.

 

____________________

 

Hair

 

 

When you see me touch my hair,

That does not give you permission to touch.

 

You are witnessing me loving myself

 

simply that.

 

So, no.

 

____________________

Not Quite Fitting In

 

In my first year of college I took Arabic.

My second attempt after studying it in high school for two years.

My second attempt to try to fit this language in the folds of my tongue.

Fifth grade; was the last time I took a Spanish class.

The last time I tried to fit a colonized language in the folds of my tongue,

The last time I try to learn a Spanish that isn’t Dominican,

but rather something from Spain or Colombia.

I want to learn my Spanish,

That sounds Dominican,

That sounds like my people.

 

____________________

 

When I Dance Merengue y Bachata

 

Faces wear a kind of surprise that I can’t forget about,

the kind of surprise that says

it shouldn’t dance too well on my body.

So when I dance Merengue y Bachata,

I make sure to give it my all, like it’s my first time;

Like I am in preschool school learning both dances from Mamí in our small living

room.

About the poet:

Nadia Milad Issa/Issa. Dancer, poet, womanist, educator. Born in Framingham MA, and raised in Boston, Nadia identifies as an Afro-Dominicanx and Lebanese, Two Spirit Lesbian. Nadia is an alumnus Dance major of Boston Arts Academy, a visual and performing arts high school, they currently attend Hampshire College studying Dance Performance and Choreography, and Afrikana Studies. Nadia performed in dance works by Cristal Brown, William McLaughlin, Bronwen MacArthur, Faradina Chan, Vincent Hardy, Sheryl-Pollard Thomas, Erica Schwartz, Heidi Cruz, and Princess Mhoon. Nadia’s dance choreography has been shown at Boston University. At age 19, they have already been involved in internships where they have collaborated with and taught youth of the Afrikan diaspora about major perpetual issues (racism, white supremacy, anti-Blackness). Nadia shortly taught a small Freshman honors group at the Boston Arts Academy, centered on Black consciousness through readings, dialogue, and poetry as a teacher’s assistant for Dara Bayer. Nadia has attended and co-facilitated social justice, environmental, and educational conferences. Nadia writes their own poetry, in which they have performed at open mics and one slam poetry competition in Boston. Currently, Nadia’s poetry takes a twist to an anthological approach, their poetry revealing story telling as truth, about the violence towards people of the Afrikan diaspora and their personal familial experiences. Family in relation to immigration, anti-Blackness, and experiences as an Afro-Dominicanx and Lebanese person. Nadia accomplished their own artist activist Senior Grant Project called, “Slaying the Spiral of Silence with Spoken Word”, which they invited those who identify as a Person of Color, and tried to help them gain true self-understanding. Their project included poetry, workshops, attending rallies, team building, and creating space for healthy and vital dialogue. They consider to be an artivist. Nadia is all about manifesting art that challenges white supremacy. Nadia intends to continue to work through the lens of West-Afrikan Spirituality, Survival, Blackness, and Queerness within Dance and written works.

Comments

comments

Advertising

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*