Jasmine Gonzalez

Jasmine Gonzalez is from New York City. Writing poetry is how she reclaims the power over the aspects of her mental health that can spin out of control. Her poetry has been published in Lehman’s literary magazine, La Libreta and in Spanglish Voces. Before graduating from Lehman College, she completed a senior thesis that focused on Nuyorican women writers and their impact on the literary world. Currently, she works as a volunteer editorial assistant for Walking in Other People’s Shoes where she helps elevate the voices of women of color. Jasmine also works as a part-time Programs and Operations Assistant at the Nuyorican Poets Café. 

A Woman’s Struggle

Doctors whisper
to each other:
“We don’t know what’s wrong with her.”

A woman’s body
is a mystery,
That’ll have her
shaking hands,
with the reaper.
of trying to understand her,
She’s injected with:

Empty promises,
And laws.

Only to be regulated,
While she bleeds,
through most of her life.
My story is just one
Of the many:

I was in the hallway,
of an Emergency Room,
Receiving a bag of A positive.
What was happening to me,
was so foreign,
Not important,
So, no privacy
for the misunderstood.

I rode the river of blood,
To death’s door.
It would have opened,
had I just knocked.
Betrayed by the system,
That symbolized life.

I tell people
I don’t want kids,
They’re quick to respond with:

“You’ll change your mind.”
“What if you meet someone?”
“You don’t want to give your parents grandkids?”

can they answer me this?
Why would I bring life
into this world,
With a body
I haven’t trusted
since puberty?

felt entitled,
To the treasure,
between my legs.
My denial,
Was punishment for them.
That their old stairway to heaven,
Became my highway to hell.

I dropped the metaphors,
Cuz I needed them,
To hear me,
Refusing to apologize,
If the fight for my life,
Got in the way,
Of giving them somewhere,
to put their self-important dick.
Shock and confusion,
Crossed their faces.
Do they not know,
that Google is fuckin free?

All women want is EFFORT
Y’all put all that energy,
Into trying to
Hate and regulate,
Why not spend it saving us?
They keep saying it’s a man’s world.
But it wouldn’t be nothin’
Without a woman or a girl.

----------------------------------------------- // --------------------------------------------------------- 

A Response to “Ella no sabe nada”

The color of my pale skin
Green eyes that confuse the masses.
Should I apologize for my colonizer features?
When I truly had no say in the matter?

History proves
Puerto Ricans come in all colors
Why is that so hard to understand?

My voluptuous hips
Sway to the same salsa rhythms.
My thick and unruly curls
Have African and Indigenous ancestry,
Woven throughout.
So where lies the issue?

Is it my lack of fluency with speaking Spanish?
Por que I speak Spanglish?
The language of a proud Nuyorican?
Does that offend you?

Perhaps I’m too busy looking on the surface.
How can I show you that I feel Puerto Rican?

As Mariposa says in “Ode to the Diasporican”:
“being Boricua
is a state of mind
a state of heart
a state of soul..”

But you can’t see the red, white, and blue
That courses through my veins.
You can’t hear my heartbeat,
To Rodriguez de Tio’s “Grito de Lares.”
You can’t feel the quake in my soul,
When I yell the words to “Que Bonita Bandera.”
You can’t taste the passion in my words,
When I sing “Mi Viejo San Juan.”

You assume that I want to sing
but don’t know any songs.
Truth is,
I am singing,
You just refuse to hear me. 


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