They say that the best gifts are those you give. So today I want to share something special with you. It’s a poem I wrote a couple of weeks ago.
The immigration controversies all over the world brought me to reflect on who I am. As a world traveler, a soul searcher, an awareness shifter, a community builder, my journeys are many and ongoing. This poem capture them all - please, receive it as I send it: joyously and lovingly.
I’m an immigrant
I’m not Brown,
I’m not Black,
I haven’t been abused.
I haven’t been in a hopeless economic situation
I’m an immigrant – the kind that you like. I know, you told me.
I speak French, German, and enough good English to pass as one of yours. I look like you.
So you gave me a fancy name. One you’re more comfortable with.
You called me an expat.
Even though I’m no more, no less, expatriated than any one of them who’s left their homeland behind.
I left my country so that I could follow my bliss, so I could share my gifts and dream the life I didn’t think was possible where I was.
The truth is I landed on your shore dead broke – I came only dressed with the hope for a life I was yearning for.
But you didn’t know it. You didn’t grow suspicious of me. You didn’t question me.
You gave me a job, and a credit line, and a mortgage, and you let me into your good neighborhoods, and into your good schools – you made me be part of your community in all possible ways, and you’ve supported me all those decades I’ve been wandering in this world.
It was easy.
It was fun.
I look like you… So you know I’m one of yours.
But between me and them – there is just a difference of degree
In our skin tone,
In our accent,
In our faith.
Between them and me there is more than your eyes can meet.
There are the faces, the customs, the traditions of those we left behind and with whom we became slowly but surely estranged.
There are the shaking grounds of a new reality, of new beliefs, a new culture, a new language, and a new society with its own beauty and challenges.
There are hopes, and fears, and misunderstanding, and failing, and starting over.
There is the deep gratitude, and the deep desire of giving more than we received.
They are one of yours too – but you don’t know it.
You don’t want to see it.
Their plight is too big,
Their needs are too many,
And they look so different, they sound so different.
And their misery is too much to bear… so much that you, and I, turn our gaze away.
Away from their gaze for fear of seeing…
Our broken humanness.
In their eyes.
Yes, I – like you – am an immigrant.
Like the geese, like the people of Israel en route for the Promised Land, like the Gypsies, and the traveling circus, I – like you – am migrating
So I can recognize the many faces of myself in you
And I can know the many faces of you in me
And I know for sure
I am an in-migrant.
From this journey within I can see you – Brown, Black, poor, lost, broken, persecuted.
I am – You are – We are immigrants.
And the most wondrous migration we’ll ever experience
Is from you to me and from me to you
From me in you
To you in me.
From me to me.
I am in – me – grand.
Véronique Alice E.
June 25, 2018
Wondering what I'm doing when I'm not writing poems?
Please check my website at www.joyousliving.me for more information. I'm happy to have a conversation with you anytime, on anything that is dear to your heart.