Bilum Lady in Brasil

My eyes are peeled.

I was aware of it but I had to see it for myself.

Cultural awareness and competency make no sense to me.

A skill you can add to your resume.

To make up for your lack of empathy.

Always got something to prove in writing.

Calm down you’ve only spent a day in the village.

You’re on our territory, act accordingly.

White spaces make me feel dumb.

To my advantage, I play dumb all the time.

Like all the black and indigenous visionaries have taught me to lay low.

Like Capoeira, to not draw too much attention.

Like Mambu King ‘ol Kanaka, to pretend but remain vigilant.

To nod in agreement but pay more loyalty to your tribesmen.

We reasoned maybe if we put on their clothes, they’d take us seriously.

Be careful you might get blacklisted for wearing the wrong t-shirt.

White people seem to know more about racism and anti-blackness.

They can go on for ages.

Quoting struggles of black, brown, and indigenous people.

From a journal article.

As if they didn’t take up space in history.

It makes me cringe.

Out of curiosity, I ask them how I can practice mindfulness.

Only through lived experience and adversities.

We grow and adapt.

We chew and spit out the bones for the dogs.

That feels organic to me.

I get scared when I cannot feel the ground.

Barefoot in the soil.

Never simplify how we live or do things.

For we are sophisticated negotiators of our own identities.

Suppressed and oppressed.

Vilified and demonized.


The hippie culture stole from us.

Western culture STOLE everything from us.

Our colorful plumes were confiscated and served as artifacts in museums.

For the rightful owners to pay just to look at their reflection in the glass plaques.

When the guardian of the museum stands before the plaque he is adorned with mana

“Segura o ceu”

It may be the only thing we have left to protect.

As the earth is removed from beneath us.

Kanohi ki te kanohi

Mekeo to Guarani

I see your ancestors in you.

Disappointed that we aren’t walking around in traditional attire all day as you romanticized.

Bear with us, as we do our best to give you an authentic experience.

While our babies are crying, and the house needs cleaning.

We will drop everything to cook and feed our guests.

We are barely holding up for ourselves.

This is our authentic experience.

But sure, I will sit down and explain to you.

Why we have lost hope in humanity.

We are generations of leaders, activists, and visionaries.

But when you talk up a random local at a bar.

He asks why we traveled this far.

Sheltered by his own privilege.

You’ve shown me the dark side.

When you prick us do, we not bleed?

Marielle Franco’s name resounds in the streets.

Another Blaktivist fallen at the hands of the police.

For calling out racial injustice

That’s where being brown and black gets you.

Killed and silenced.

To dismantle the struggle for rights.


I just want you to know that you are really special.

Hanging your clothes on the trees of Paraiso.

I carry my clothes to wash nearby.

to hang upside down on the traffic lights.

Don’t bother looking for me coz I think I’ve found myself here in these streets.


Revisiting a part of my childhood when I’ve tried so hard to change it.

I had to run like a fugitive, to save the life I live.

I hear songs about slavery, Apartheid, and genocide.

Black liberation, equal rights, and justice.


An oasis to heal, recoup and adapt.

For our struggle has no end.

Resilience is the fire.

Rage is our fuel.

Resistance will be the virtue.

Marielle Franco

There is no structure to this. This is my version of being immersed in Brazil. I’ve written down what’s on my heart and I hope that resonates somehow. There’s so much to feel and less to think about. Amongst all the beauty there is a lot of pain and that is what is translated in this piece through my interactions with nature, the people, and my surroundings. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone. Creativity is a staple in Brazil and it takes more than an open mind to appreciate its entirety. This is only my 2nd blog post and I have so much to unpack.

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