Language You Were Not Born With

Talking about a sensitive topic with friends;
there’s a word you think applies 

but it’s from language
you were not born with.

You would like to include it
in the conversation — holding it in your mouth 

before placing it with right reverence
and emphasis

on the perfect space on the board so to speak — 
but are unsure of its reception 

and frankly are at least slightly uneasy
with your right to use the word

as it is not
language you were born with.

You consult your dictionary
and find the word there, guide to pronunciation,

all the various connotations, even a sense
of the same dis-ease you feel while considering it.

Now you have permission. This is why
you own the dictionary in the first place:

to give yourself permission. To provide yourself
a place to keep

all the language you were not born with
until you choose to use it. 

As you speak you have freedom of choice
to think (or not) of all who’ve died

to provide you with your dictionary. Those
whose mouths once held selected words

that were fortunately plucked 
in their ripest darkest moments

and then tucked almost tenderly into your dictionary
to sleep until you needed them. Language

you were not born with, language still blood-sticky.
Talking around a sensitive subject with friends

and there’s the perfect place to stick the word.
This is why you own the dictionary: so you’ve got 

something to point at in the silence that follows.  
Something to stand on. Something

to hit the dead with when they come forward
to ask why you took what you took from them.

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About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

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