Dirty Words by Vincente Perez

Mixed is a dirty word. A constant reminder of two separate things forced together.

A bastardization of purity. 

Did you know you split me in half 

every time you utter that word?



I have to ask myself

Which part of me was thrown in


Diaspora or kinship

Kinky hair/light skin

Better yet what higher power put the combination together?

Willed me to live by giving me a name.

What gives it away?

Where do your eyes move first?

I don’t think you see me. I am personified questions. Everyone else has the answers

White is the combination of all colors

Black is the absence of color / no color

I am generic Person of Color

where do I fit in the spectrum?

Racism is pure symbolism

Questions asked and answered

What does Black mean?

What does white afford?

Lost in translation

Hailed as mixed,

A so-called solution

Fluid mixing producing a post-racial future.

Vapid vapor

An ethereal being

Conspicuous while being invisible

Violently erased in a

Black/White dichotomy

A mere smudge

that nags, as it is neither clean 

nor clearly Marked

Oriented in the occident

Accidentally accented

Where should the emphasis


Tightly scripted performance.

Restricted expression,

This isn’t my story,

Tell me who I am.


In a Fetishized Fantasy

Stripped of all access to myself.

Call it protectionism,

Call it survival,

But never call it revolution

Mixed is heterography

Life respelled for easy consumpshun


Conceived and conceptualized by Others

Unauthorized / Documented

Private property set loose

Branded, not free

I am Object subjected to personification

The Story is the only thing that keeps me alive

Keep reading

I have to keep writing

Otherwise, I will…




Vincente Perez (He/They) is a Black Mexican-American performance poet, scholar, and writer working at the intersection of Poetry, Hip-Hop, and Black digital praxis. They examine the ways that poetry and Hip-hop narrate life otherwise and approach poetry as a research methodology and an object of study. They are a PhD Candidate in the Performance Studies program at UC Berkeley & hold a BA in Anthropology and Comparative Race & Ethnic Studies from The University of Chicago. They are a 2021-22 Poetry and the Senses Fellow at UC Berkeley’s Arts Research Center. Their work has been featured in Poetry.onl, Digging Through the Fat, Association of Internet Researchers, River and South Review, Abolition Journal, and more. http://www.vincenteperez.com/

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