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clara olivo




woven together

creating endless streams

of beautiful Blackness

Flowing into a mosaic

of splendor and despair


with Indigenous glory


Atlantic meets Pacific

creating and coexisting

a culture of joy and resistance

defying the impossible

So don't tell me

there aren't any Black people in El Salvador

Mi querida Prudencia

will tell you otherwise

and las cumbias proclaim

nunca faltan los mirones como tú y los demá'

because when you look like this

a walking reflection of your ancestors pride

people can't help but ask

"what are you?"

As if short of divine isn't enough

as if surviving genocide

does not denote me

the right to be seen

as "who"

rather than

"what (am I?)"


Fijate que te confundes porque

parezco de aquí y de allá

con mi pelo suelto o trenzado

La gente de dos tierras

ascending before your eyes

Don't tell me

there aren't any Black people in El Salvador

porque mira no mas

aquí estoy

the lovechild of

El Negro y su Nena

Negrita, toda crecida

and they didn't call me that for nothing

so Don't tell me

there aren't any Black people in El Salvador

when I'm standing right here

Clara Olivo is an Afro-Salvi poet living in diaspora. Born and raised in South Central L.A to Salvadorean refugees, Clara weaves history and lived-experience creating diasporic poetry that amplifies ancestral power and pride. Her words capture the traumas and triumphs of living in diaspora and how displacement, colonization, and survival have shaped her life. She’s performed in open mics from Seattle to Washington D.C and featured in publications such as The South Seattle Emerald, Valiant Scribe and Quiet Lightning’s Literary Mixtape. Clara lives in a quiet home on unceded Duwamish land with her partner, dog and an ever growing number of houseplants. 

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