Finding Peace with Sonia Sanchez by Doriana Markovitz

i Am YElloW

i have arrived in this world
like a clump of
Yellow pollen
melting inside plastic flower-hearts
the feed of honeybees

risin’ and fallin’ with the echoing laughs of God 

i know the grueling sensation of
losing yourself 

i have spread out my veins and straggled my desires until they have streamed off my shoulders
exploding like rain 

i have squeezed my fists until my finger prints
have branded my palms and
i have cursed God for
breaking me 

i cough up
as the sun folds
into the stars
and i sing myself warm

i am drifting
above the clouds
and above the sky
i am drifting to other galaxies
that are moving and spinning
to their own timeless existence 


to my own
and my very flesh has become a great poem. 

This is a poem from my collection CoLoRcHiLd. This collection explains the process I have taken in discovering my racial identity. I Am YEllOw is the concluding poem stating that I am not black, white, or brown but I am yellow, my own color which has been formed from years of internal and external struggle.  

Sam, Jen, and I had the once in a lifetime opportunity last Saturday, March 12th to attend Sonia Sanchez’s Haiku Trail to Freedom Workshop at the Johnson House in Germantown. This workshop taught me many things as a poet writing about race, womanhood, and the desire for freedom in my own life. 

Sonia had us choose a partner, she then told us to place our right hand over our partner’s heart, then put our left hand over our right. 

Then she asked in such a simple voice, “Do you feel your partner’s heart beating? They are a human being and they are existing just like you are. Your job is not to damage them, your job is to help, hold, and heal them when necessary.” 

Perhaps it was the way she said it, so effortlessly, but that moment will live with me forever. She taught me how simple it is to exist peacefully in that moment, and how it is my duty to transfer that peace into my writing. I now have the desire to open up a space for compassion and simplicity through my words. 

Sonia told every one of us we must write, we must write every day not because we want to but because it will give us salvation. Don’t write to be good, she said or to produce something exquisite, write because you must in order to feel nourished. 

I discovered that I don’t need to just be a poet writing about race, womanhood and freedom. I can be a poet writing about my life and whatever I may endure and that simple thing can carry me to infinite places of beauty.  

Since the subject of this workshop was about writing haiku, I would like to to share my own:  

breathing on this earth
is hard work, reward yourself
for being human 

my palms together
raised to my forehead, I am
saluting to peace

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