Sounds of a Seashell
BY CIELO VALENZUELA-LARA
A Response to Finlandia
The ocean’s waves crashing in the
depths of a seashell, pressed
against a child’s ear, is
sometimes the only form of libertad.
Children are good at learning
how to drown out the noise
of their reality
when it’s the only way they feel safe.
It sadness me;
when a place that’s supposed to be a home
betrays someone just because of their identity.
Sometimes found family
is better than the one you were born into.
we’ve been taught to respect our elders,
but your identity should not suffer
just because you live under your parents roof.
A relationship is complex;
You don’t want to understand
the other’s side, but,
let me put it this way,
being forced to do something you don’t want to do
isn’t a choice.
Just like your
Gender identity or
Isn’t one either.
getting lost in that seashell shouldn’t be the only way to cope.
To save ourselves,
We get lost in activities we claim as our own,
We sew our lives into beautiful patterns
that are made into colorful textiles.
But the minute we pioneer an idea,
there is always someone just waiting to steal it.
Taking tradition and culture that
doesn’t belong to you doesn’t make you
a trendsetter, it makes you a colonizer.
But your appropriation doesn’t make us victims.
We’re seeds that grow and heal from our pain,
nurtured by the ocean’s water.
Getting lost in the chaos of life
can make you feel like your drowning,
but the most amazing thing about
the human body is that it floats.
Like seafoam, latinos always rise to the top.
You can hear our cries of victory in the
depths of a seashell pressed
against a child’s ear.
Cielo Valenzuela-Lara (she/her/hers) 17, is a Latinx artist & activist from Los Angeles, California. Cielo takes pride in calling herself an artivist. She uses this term to describe her passion for using her acting, singing, dancing, and spoken word poetry as activism. With artivism in mind, she sees the material she performs and the content she writes as tools to bring about social and political change. As a result, Cielo has performed during immigration rallies, fundraising events for local non-profits, and other special campaigns and projects that raise awareness about social issues, like adverse childhood experiences. These professional experiences have also earned Cielo notable recognition. In 2020, Cielo began her engagement with a professional youth poetry troop known as the Get Lit Players. She is also a published poet, featured in The Los Angeles Press and the National Youngarts 2021 Anthology and Catalogue. Cielo currently attends California School of the Arts and plans to pursue a degree in Musical Theater in the fall. Her dream is to study musical theater in college while applying her interests in history and creative writing to support causes that matter to her.