For Colored Boys Who Speak Softly


For colored boys
I will crucify myself like Christ
let my blood purify and sanctify these words
create a doctrine and go knocking door to door
letting the people know that messiahs are here
that we are messengers
even though we embody the word queer
that we are a reminder of
how colonization has destroyed nuestra cultura
they burned our villages, nuestros pueblos
implemented homophobia, sexism, and machismo
in las cabezas de nuestros abuelos
brainwashed our ancestors into believing
that boys like us are a manifestation of the devil

For colored boys who speak softly
I’ll remind the world that centuries ago
we were shamans and healers
gifted warriors
two-spirited people highly respected by villagers
but now we’ve become
nothing more than fags and queers
making ourselves believe
that capitalism will solve our issue. . . .

I’ll recognize
that there is more than one wound to heal
more than one struggle that we feel
but this ignorance blocks us from seeing
the greater picture, the greater evil
and these same issues
these same issues transcend the borders
because brothers and sisters
in Oaxaca
in Chiapas
in the Philippines
in Iraq
are resisting this very same system. . . .

For colored boys
I will remind my people
que somos diferente
que somos gente
con cultura, con orgullo, con poder
we are people
and with the people we stand
breaking borders and stereotypes
like this system that exploited our hands. . . .

Yosimar Reyes, “two-spirit and gangsta’,” is a poet and activist based in San Jose, California.  His work is included in Mariposas: A Modern Anthology of Queer Latino Poetry.  Listen to more of his poetry at <>.  Video by Carl D. Brown, Corduroy Media and music by Jason Snell.  The text above is a partial transcript of the video.  For a copy of his book For Colored Boys Who Speak Softly, email him directly at

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