Beans About It

Denise Benjamin

Nothing Between Us

She is Mulatto


Nothing Between Us

I don't know you.
You don't know me.
Yet you gaze at me

Last night as I fell asleep
You were there.
And every morning
I wake up
To find you as you were
When I fell asleep.

You look into me
What do you see?

Is it me
As I know me
Or me
As I know you

Your naked knowing gaze
May be

She is Mulatto

She's mulatto.
What I heard her say was
"I identify with the struggle. I'm black"
"I mean, I would never say I'm white."
"It's obvious I'm not!"

"I would never say I'm white" is what struck me.
Oh and yeah she said "I don't wanta be white"
With no apologies
She didn't need to apologize.

She is half black
And half white
And she identifies with the black race.
Not completely accepted by either
Yet in her declaration - she IS black.


I told my father when I was eleven
"I don't wanta be white"
I wanted to be like the geisha girl I had seen for the first time on TV that night.
His words still ring in my head
"Don't you ever say that."
"You should be proud to be an American!"

I guess when I hear
"I don't wanta be white"
It reminds me of my geisha girl moment
All those years ago
And I relate being white
And being American
As the same thing
And sometimes

I don't want to be either.