Give Me Back

Give me back, please. All of me.

I do not know where, exactly, to address 
this supplication.  I do not know how to petition
an entire culture for redress of grievances
which, if redressed, would make it a different culture,
which might just kill it. I have to harden,
have to look past that, have to ask knowing
it is not likely to be heard, yet knowing as well
that asking is survival
and not asking is extinction.

Give me back, please.  All of me.

Everything I cannot recall.
Every experience I never had.
All the language I never learned,
all the language I have not heard
since the last familial speakers died
and ended the need to to speak it.
Each voice I could not hear, each word
that fit into a hole I now carry
and cannot explain, each song I have translated
into howl, each prayer I have learned
from the flow
of my lonely blood.

Give me back, please.  All of me.

I do not know who is listening.  I do not know
if anyone but me is listening.  Someone
is likely to tell me to toughen up and struggle up
and give it up to swim upstream
like all the dying who seek to continue even if
they turn to rot and fodder on the way.  Those,
they will say, are your names, your destinies
to choose from.  

Give me back, no please this time;

I recall enough to know I was not made
in your image.  I recall enough to know
what I was or should have been 
is not what you would prefer me to be.
I recall enough to know
I will have to take me back from the mouths
of your traps, from the teeth of your maw,
from the edge of your bayonet, from the depths
of your hoods and jails and well-meant 
blood-percentage definitions.

Give me back
as I was meant to be
before I have to come digging through you

to find me. 

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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

2 responses to “Give Me Back

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