La Gringa

13 Apr

Mirame a los ojos y dime de donde vengo
quienes son mis padres y cual es mi nombre

Lupita Maria, me dices, bella como tu madre
pero disculpame, como diablo se pronuncia

el apellido de tu padre? y cuando
abres la boca nadie te entiende

People look at me and ask
where do you come from?

and I know there will never be
a simple answer to that question

my face does not match
my name does not match

my voice does not match
it’s a trifecta of confusion

you must be Native American
I say I am of the tribe of New Jersey

But you don’t have an accent,
what exit? they smirk

105 and 109, I reply
with authority and pride

So where did Lupe come from?
It’s my mother’s name

Is she Mexican?
No, she is Ecuadorean

Oh, that explains it
the Incan connection

your English is so good
I’ve been speaking it since birth

but their eyes have glazed over
and they will never really know

who I am, and most importantly
where I come from


8 Responses to “La Gringa”

  1. M April 14, 2016 at 2:51 am #

    oh, I know this one. when I’m not feeling snarky I just nod and ignore. when I am.. I say Carmel. ‘no, you know what I mean.’ ‘yes, i do. do you?’…


  2. Oloriel April 14, 2016 at 11:00 am #

    I think those who insist to prod have trouble even finding themselves, they yearn a box with a label and love to compete with other on who has assembled more pieces of their own identity (not caring the other person is not interested!) Whoever and whatever you are, be beautiful being it!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Desdi April 2, 2018 at 9:10 am #

    Do you become offended when people ask you where you or your parents are from?

    I am very interested in international cultures. I have noticed that some people feel it is completely irrelevant and inappropriate to ask about cultural origins, while others enjoy talking about it. I have always been fascinated by etymology of names and ethnic facial physiognomy.

    I get annoyed with people who take offense and close up when asked . . .
    The second type of person is more fun to converse with.
    Great poem, I found it thought-provoking.


    • lupitatucker April 2, 2018 at 9:29 am #

      Hi Desdi! Thanks for stopping by!

      No, it doesn’t offend me at all. I enjoy talking about it!

      The funny thing is, that because of the way I look, and the name I have, and the voice I have, and where I was born, and where I have lived, there has always been something in those things that has made me be “other.”

      For example, if you hear me speak with my American accent (pure Jersey girl but no Jersey accent) on the phone, you wouldn’t think twice: American.

      But, when people see me they wonder if I am Native American. Then, my name Lupita is obviously not American or Native American so there’s that too.

      Even funnier still, when I am in Ecuador or a spanish speaking culture and I totally look the part, I open my mouth to speak in Spanish and my Gringa accent comes out.

      So this poem is about that, really. Not having a full set of traits that fit me neatly into one culture. I have repeatedly gone through this scenario of trying to explain why I look like I look and speak as I speak for many years. 🙂 And when you have to explain things too much, people get bored.

      So, my mother is from Ecuador and my father is Irish-American from south Jersey. My first name is a traditionally Mexican name (but no Mexican in me whatsoever) and my last name is Eyde which is Norwegian, meaning “oath” in old Norwegian and “the space between the fjords” in more modern Norwegian. I was born and raised in Monmouth County, NJ, and my parents moved our family to Ecuador when I was twelve and I lived there during my high school years.


      • Desdi April 2, 2018 at 11:19 am #

        That is an interesting mix. I am 1/4 Japanese, the rest is Angloid/Germanic. My wife is Central American (Nica). I have lived and visited many countries. My kids first language was Spanish.


      • Desdi April 2, 2018 at 11:36 am #

        I hate it when I notice someone’s obvious (or subtle) national/ethnic traits, like accent, or facial structure, or name– but if I politely inquire about it, they evade or get defensive, or try to guilt me.
        For me, talking about culture and heritage should be a great start to a fascinating conversation. Part of it is that I am good at recognizing regional as well as national accents. Maybe I am just too forward about it. I’m the type of person who will jump into an intense conversation with a total stranger (like at a laundromat or something)and an hour later realize I have no idea what their name or precise age is. Such mere facts are superfluous to good conversation. We are all spirits temporarily housed in flesh.


Please let me know what you think of this poem. I love comments!

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