english is my second language

english is my second language

because the word 'aggressive' to me is not the same as the word 'aggressive' to you.

i am an aggressive dancer.

i am a violent dancer.

i am a passionate lover

a passionate fighter.

and if it seems like i’m overcompensating, it is because i am.

because i look 'delicate'

because i am ‘nice’

my skin is soft unlike the tone of my voice.



deep with roots.

...is it too much?

because i am speaking to make up for the silence of a hundred years.

i take up space

because i choose to and i will.

i make eye contact

so you know that i am here.

i shake your hand with a strong grip because i can meet you halfway.

i will jut out my elbows

claw the air

take ownership of the space around me

because my aggressive moves are an animalistic dance to show that i own more than just my body.

i am a presence

a force

energy they cannot contain.

my passion is bigger than these gestures and louder than i can yell.

losing my voice from singing - songs not for myself

but for ancestors who could not speak up.

i dance ugly and low

a barefooted warrior with bear hands.

channeling wrath


ferocity in my DNA where trauma and memory lies


seeps through my pores

as my body sweats tears

reminding my skin of the humid air it craves

-like a fish out of water-

my sweat is the saltiness of the ocean,

the tears never shed for our mother islands

a cleansing release.

english is my second language because my body is first.

because i can't express verbally what my arm can in one motion.

‘They are so happy.’

‘...You must be so happy because we helped You.’

the word 'happiness' to you is not the same as the word 'happiness' to me.

we are not 'happy'

we are resilient.

english is my second language because i was born here.



© 2020 nicole gervacio

  • Instagram - Black Circle
  • Twitter - Black Circle
  • Facebook - Black Circle