As Us

A Space for Writers of the World

Victoria Garica—Poetry

Dedicated to Tha Youth From Covelo Cali

Remember moments from each grade
Round Valley Elementary school
days of referrals/sent to tha office again
suspended for fist fights
with more boys than girls
cuz boyz thot they tough
3rd  grade
borderline special ed
bad behavior child
runs out classroom
permanent substitute teacher
don’t got time for ndn lil girl
———just a trouble maker
———defiant

———can’t listen
labels/terms replace my name
cuz lack of care/connection
so easy to write suspension slips
can’t contain my lil wild spirit
White teacher teaches
submission to authority
thinks
at least I’ll make her listen
leave class
climb tree in front of school
escape white burden wrath
fastest climb to reach sky
fly above discipline education
principal calls my Tia Connie
teachers aid in next door classroom
as soon as I saw my Tia’s look
swift feet and hands
lead path down tree
4th  grade

New white blonde blue eyed
teacher couldn’t handle Covelo kidz
cuss out Mrs. Sanders
cuz don’t care about children
just pay checks/resume boosts
cuz as soon as year ends
she be first to move
no patience to find problem roots
written off as another one lost
feet leads not to office but tree
natural ladder branches
reach above limiting walls
no wonder footsteps climb to roof
they’ll never find me here

Adventures and discoveries of
old balls and abandoned toys
unconcerned uncaring teacher
never noticed my absence
high above school grounds
roof mountain tops
outta sight outta mind
cuz by tha time I climb down
no one new of my playground adventures

Fast forward
Warrior/fighter spirit still exists within
Authority and me don’t play along
Hard to fight thots of
problem child can’t cut it in college
Survivor mentality challenge words
Raise hand in class/speak mind
in spite of self doubts
UC Berkeley student resists
against institution control
Arrested age 22 by UCPD cop
cuz I still won’t obey
power hungry patriarchy
never submit to bullshit oppressive systems
I climb MLK building
to escape 30,000 students
roof top subway lunch
just to break away from
rules that dictate lives

Voices once silenced speak through pages
American Indian scholars teach resistance
ignite flames of refusal to accept anything less
challenge words/labels/histories that rewrite reality
of stolen land/ slaughtered ancestors
speak out against less than 1% Native population
cuz when enslaved Indian remains at Hearst museum
out number living students on UC Berkeley campus
hard not to struggle when institution sees me
better dead than alive
American progress label justifies genocide
colonized land/world makes it hard to survive
but my mind/thots can’t be contained
I write poetry to resist/reinvent
problem child terms/ no good ndn lil girl labels
Recreate stolen stories from lived experiences
not re-imagined ideas from white perspectives

———This is my story
not some smart college kid
always expected to go to school
but hard working stubborn bitch
reppin where I’m from no matter where I go
Rez warrior/Chicana pride
its up to us to self identify
can’t confine minds to biased books
break through road block education
scatter complex stories/heritage
to rewrite one sided history
———its up to you
———to create your own story


Victoria Garica is Chiricahua Apache and grew up in Covelo, CA on the Round Valley Indian Reservation. She also identifies as Chicana in addition to all of her intersecting identities for which she uses writing as a way to process the complexities of life. As a graduating senior at UC Berkeley, she majored in American Studies with an area of concentration in Native American Representations in Film and Performance. Vickie also double minored in Native American Studies and Creative Writing and plans to eventually attend medical school after completing the requirements in a Post-Bacc program. Vickie writes poetry as a form of resistance.

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Issue 3February 14th, 2014
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