speak not in your inherited gutter language.
Speak in the patrician language of classical ass-fuckers
or else your utterances will find no echo
in this epitome of excellence.
Ghosts cursed and slammed
hardwood doors on me
as I attempted to navigate my way
and maternal expectations.
In English class, the suited,
we had to memorize and recite
the Gettysburg address
Fourscore and seven years ago
Almost seven years old
when I arrived on this continent
where my mother’s accent
mis-branded her an uneducated foreigner
and my birth name, devoid of its context,
drew comparisons to a winner
of the Kentucky Derby.
Our fathers brought forth on this continent
Fourteen years old
and solidified within me already
was a resistance to indoctrination:
Your fathers, maybe. Not mine.
He had nothing to do with it.
a new nation, conceived in liberty
Libertines forcibly transported;
their larceny and lust
immortalized in the death of legions
of indigenous innocents.
and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal
I stared out the window
the whole time
with their riotous color
fall to the ground.
In biology class, I was repelled
by the teacher’s fascination
with brown polyester
and bad dye jobs.
on the long trip home
I thought only winter,
with its paucity of green,
looks like these people.
Before winter break, I was called
into the counselor’s office.
Looking like me but possessing
speech patterns as alien as Latin
she showed me the D’s and F’s
littering my school file
and recommended a transfer.
The next semester
I started at a new school
and the first thing of significance
was write a poem about a tree
cause nature is natural and beautiful