23 and mine

Recently published in the first issue of DAMN* magazine, Rhea Ramjohn's intensely personal poem 23 and mine unweaves not just the complex helix of Rhea's family history, but is very specifically a critical commentary on the now ubiquitous use of DNA testing companies' kits and their problematic marketing and packaging of heritage, race, and ancestry. 

 The poem reveals the irony as well as the privilege of our society's current trend to boldly proclaim one's "racial make-up" even though the history of colonialism, the "one-drop rule," and other anti miscegenation  practices are being erased, overlooked, and completely disregarded in this pseudo-scientific cultural trend.


 This company says I can discover factual genealogy.

 Discover like Columbus did to my Caribbean?

Discover opportunities like the British East India Company?

Where was this interest one hundred years ago, in such precision and analytics?

To document my Chinese grandmother’s true name,

her home province, and her indentured laborship?




Keep up-to-date on Rhea's most current poetry and poetic musings on Instagram.


You can find her at spoken word performances around Berlin, and contact her directly for customized poems, workshops, and performance bookings at info@rhearamjohn.com