Afraid of Myself

Standard

The pen pauses on paper, the words choked back like a sun dried-

raisin, rising in my minds eye reminding me that’s the only “black” poem I know

because that’s the only one that’s taught to me, like how I was taught to apologize

taught to appreciate condescending comments about my “eloquence” as if we, black

brothers didn’t invent the word flow deeper than the Nile and as wide as denial,

cuz I denied my heritage, a casualty of white guilt even though I’m not white

but I guess when you are casually called white long enough by white and black friends

you must bear the double burden of being hated for your color

and the fact that you speak proper and say ask instead of axe.

When you are both Romeo and Juliet in this tragedy that is America,

your facebook wall the scene of countless small wars between between you call friends

you learn to be quiet. Which is ironic because you never shut up

except you learn not to say much. How to chameleon your way through every conversation

how to choke down the bitter reality that if you speak up you won’t fit.

Won’t be black enough because you can understand white people’s frustrations

because not all of them are bad. Actually most of them are pretty cool once you get

to know them and in a lot of cases they don’t even know they are being racist.

But you also will never be white enough to make palatable to bring home,

or to be able to speak up about yourself without seeming angry.

So you shut up. Chameleon yourself like you were taught because if you blend

you can’t be hurt. So you laugh. Or ignore. Or just say something like smh.

And with each missed opportunity the DREAM is dying, a slow relentless death.

I am the one killing the dream. Not the awful depraved comment sections

or the rampant political ignorance. Me. With my unique perspective and voice.

I need to speak and stop blending. I need to be brave and step on toes.

This was supposed to be a poem but it turned into a terrible ramble.

But it’s honest. And real. And true. It’s me. Finally ready to speak and be heard.