After Another Venezuelan Protest – 1/23/19

After Another Venezuelan Protest – 1/23/19

For so long I had no flag – 

The nationalism for the expatriate ebbs and flows like the rivers we came from 

Once our passports are stamped, our shoe soles and new souls never stop moving 

Traveling through time, but missing the ride to space; we see pictures of five-year-old cousins we’ve never met

My parents’ pictures of a land I never got to greet with my own teeth

My grandma told me today: “people on the streets like I’ve never seen before. I went with cane in hand, you know, because of my knee.”

We both think I was born into this;

A front cover of a history textbook: a lesson in fraud ironically surrounded by trees

It was pretty today out in the streets 

Walking along to a beat I’ve heard since before I was three

The broken shoes mean nothing to me, you see

I’d march into the next century if I could befriend the need to be free

I see it in my parents’ eyes – the defeat of the feat

“I marched in Pittsburgh with my own two feet”, I say

“We don’t know if that flag is ours anymore after today”

So deeper I go into an identity limbo state

The closest to a state I’ll ever get from fate

The flag is just a color, a fabric filled with song

It’s an anthem of one million voices singing along

I decide to dance flagless in the kitchen with my friends on the phone

Although my last name has rhythm, I could never dance alone

Abstract: This was written moments after I attended a Venezuelan demonstration in early 2019. Venezuela, my birthplace, has been under a dictatorship for the past 16 years – the same bitter reason my family made the decision to leave the country when I was eight. Since I cannot physically be there to march in protest, I use art as my chosen activism.

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Vanessa Vivas
Vanessa Vivas (she/her); BA Theatre Arts: Performance & Practices (Class of 2021); RLM One Acts Festival 2020-2021 Producer