I was born with my own sound,
with my accented soul,
low, happy, and sometimes invisible.
I grew up with my own rhythm,
sometimes slow, sometimes speedy.
I lived with my own song,
with my accent roots,
sometimes strong, sometimes sad,
sometimes happy, sometimes euphoric.
My voice traveled
with my curious accent.
It wanted to be heard.
I was looking to be part of the world’s symphony.
I listened to a lot of rhythms,
a diverse level of tones,
but in a perpetual discordant song.
I was preyed upon by an ocean of sounds
without sense, without feelings.
Some of them beautiful, some of them awful,
some were silent, some were strident.
All of them looking to create an echo
in an empty huge cave.
In the middle of the chaos,
I was looking to emerge with my own harmony,
with my strong accent,
with my characteristic accent.
I felt brave,
I raised my tone,
I brought light to my voice.
I learned the sacred notes,
I learned the secret sounds,
I learned their wavy rhythm.
I took a deep breath and raised my head,
I cleared my voice and mimicked their tones.
The symphony started,
I followed the notes,
finally, I was part of the chorus.
Nevertheless, I never lost my own song,
I never lost my accent.
It’s always happy and colorful,
and part of my own melody.
I open my ears and listen gratefully to other tones,
other colors, other rhythms.
Our voices shape a big, wonderful harmony.
Our universal histories create an unimaginable melody of the world,
the harmonious, rhythmical fusion of different accents.
I will always be proud of our accents
because accents are the great miracle of the human voice.
Ana Reza, age 50, came to the U.S. in 2005, from Mexico City, Mexico. She writes, “Since I was a child, my house was always full of interesting literature. I grew up smelling, seeing, feeling, and listening to literature.” Ana Reza studies English at the Queens Public Library’s Peninsula Adult Learning Center. Her teacher is James McMenamin and the site adviser is Barbara Miller.