My Dominican Tongue

By: Dilcia Mercedes

I have never heard a language quite like mine
I’ve never heard a language carry Bachata rhythms,
flow like Merengue, or swing like Salsa on my tongue
after years of Spanish oppression, our tongues learned to rebel

We omitted S’s from our speech,
broke their words
cut syllables
cut sounds
cut entire phrases out
to cut ourselves loose from the ropes they tied to us
we created a new language
a gentle revolution at the tip of our tongues

No S’s for estupido
No S’s for salvaje
No S’s for esclavo
No S’s for Spanish

I do not speak Spanish
I speak Caribbean, more specifically Dominican
and I am never ashamed to trade in a “Como estas” for a “Que lo que”
I’m never afraid to say “Tato” instead of “Estoy bien”
and I never close my mouth for fear
that my tongue’s rebellion will get me in trouble
trouble is not my problem, Spanish is

And I will never trade in my “slang” for their so-called Spanish
because I have never heard a language quite like mine

Dilcia Mercedes is a writer from the Bronx. Her writing explores identity, family, hip hop and rap, pop culture and a little bit of everything else. Dilcia is also a visual artist, and enjoys connecting pictures with words. She writes with a dope squad of people and is always looking for a good time, or something to write poems about.




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