As Us

A Space for Women of the World

Clarissa Mendiola – Poetry

The Color of White Space

 

I have fawned over

the whiteness of

verse, the hard language

of quiet

 

freedoms in pages

upon pages still foreign

 

My speech a staccato, broken

by criminal dialect

 

so much depends upon

 

the          white          space

 

Yet this my singular tongue:

neo     colonial     discord

 

collapsed music then you

 

give permission for symmetry and melody

our native orality ours no

matter the length of sea or space

or degree of ethnic (im)purity

 

everything found in the lineage of our ancestors

extended across the page a great migration

in gestures of fluidity

 

do you know the gift

of these permissions,

your coloring of the white space

 

Island Chaining

 

Island_chaining_poem


cmendiolaAs a Chamoru woman raised on the mainland, home is straddling the International Date Line, where it is today and tomorrow simultaneously. Clarissa’s work attempts to describe that place, however disorienting. She explores cultural identity and ethnic purity via memory, myth, oral and written history. Clarissa has an MFA in Writing from California College of Arts and was a 2011 Hedgebrook Writer in Residence. She currently lives in San Francisco with her husband and son.

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Issue 3February 14th, 2014
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As Us Indigenous Women’s Literary Journal

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