Isha Mckenzie-Mavinga














Not Homogeneous








Not Homogeneous







Shalom Shalom
You want to know
My connection with Judaism
      You want a declaration

Shalom Shalom
You want to know
If Iíve been to Jerusalem
If Iím Ethiopian

Shalom Shalom
You want to know
If Iím reborn
Or born this way

Shalom Shalom
You want to know
If mother was Jewish
Cos Iím like this

Shalom Shalom
You want to know
If Iíve been batmitzvad
If Iíve eaten matzo
Celebrated chanuka
Seen a Mezuzah
Broken Chula
Wear a Magen David
Eat bagels and gefilte fish
At Rosh Hashanah
You want to know
If you can call me Falasha

Shalom Shalom
You want to know
If I light candles on Friday
If I am Sephardi or Askenazi
If I am smaltzy or shmoozy

Shalom Shalom
You want to know
If I belong
Shalom Shalom

You want to know
If Iím black or woman first
If Iím feminist or fundamentalist
If I am political or radical
If Iím good enough
If I know my stuff
If Iíve been back to Africa
If I was born here

You want to know
If I speak first for women
Before other oppressions
If I know the diaspora
Malcolm and Martin Luther
Do I remember Mary Seacole?
Who are my role models?
Why I wear African dress
With whom do I have sex?
You want to know
If I hang out in womenís nests
If Iím Ms, Mrs or Mistress
If I know Hatsheput and Mekeda
Charlotte-Sophie and Louise Marie

You want to know
Why my hair is exposed
Why I wear menís clothes
Why I am me
Why I am free

You want to know
If I belong
To you or me


No Divided Loyalties.


You want to know
If I know who I am
Brown mixed race
Hybrid or Uncle Sam

You want to know
If I mix
With Europeans or Africans
Or those lighter ones

You want to know
Which Island I am from
Who taught me to cook?
Pelau rice and curry chichen

When I hear racism
Whose side I am on
If I am sitting on the fence
Confused, bewildered
Different camps

You want to know
If Iím mixed up inside
You want me to decide

You want to know
If I listen to Vilvaldi, or Bob Marley
If Iím a product of coercion
Night cultivation, desperation
Or creative innovation
If I am a liability
Endanger to racial purity
Living in duel worlds
Many pasts, presents futures

You want to know
If I am wholesale, discount
One hundred percent
You want to know
If I am qualified and Justified

You want to know
You want to know.

(1995)












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