My heritage

I hate the way I speak

 

The way my words lull to a slow drawl...

coming off like everyone else is at regular speed while I stay stuck in slow motion.

When I speak I am afraid.

I am afraid that you will see me as just another;

an uncouth, uncivilized savage whose language comprises of a bunch of vowels:

 

A A E E O U

 

 

I want so badly to sound like you,

the way you roll your rs and ask for a spot of tea.

I stare in awe when you speak,

mesmerized by your SPEAK, not your SPEECH.

There is a musicality to your voice, even when you argue, and I stay hypnotized 

longing so badly to sound just like you.

 

So I study you, 

I mean, morning, noon and night, I study you.

The tiny quirks with your vowels, 

I study down to the T, the way you swallow your consonants,

and bit by bit, 

layer by layer, 

I strip away my heritage,

concealing my identity with a false entity,

Begging...

begging to be accepted by you-

 

Accepted by you who enslaved my mothers,

you who chained my fathers, raped my sisters and brutalized my brothers.

 

I want to sound just. like. you.

 

After all, what happened in Africa was not your doing;

water under the bridge,

You are all clear, music to your ears right?

Only you are not

what happened and is happening to Africa IS your doing,

and our complicity in it IS our undoing.

The biases, they linger on in your head

and it is not the way I rock but the way i talk...

It is not what I say but the way I say what I say that puts me ahead.

so I study your inflections to perfection.

I tweak my pronunciations based on your enunciations.

In a world of Tarzan and Jane, I know you will always pick Jane, 

 

Unless...

Unless I leave Tarzan behind and become Jane

Jane that walks like you, Jane that talks llike you,

But Jane that will never look like you, or be you, try as she might.

 

And how about that price?

The price I have to pay to sound like you.

The price of losing myself in my whole entirety?

my heritage and my substantive inheritance entirely?

At the end of the day what matters more?

the substance of my speech, or the mode of my speak? Hmm

 

Screw that, I love the way I speak.

I am black, African and proud baby

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This poem is about: 
Our world

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