Thursday, November 11, 2010

I Speak

I've been meaning to write this poem for a long time, but for some reason, it never came out the right way until yesterday.

I Speak

What do you mean you don't know?
These are your words that I'm speaking
I'm making the effort to build bridges of communication
So that maybe I can get where I'm trying to go
And you can make your beeline to the nearest watering hole

"I don't speak English," you say -- brushing past
Not a glance
At this face that's imploring you to stop for a second
To point me in the right -- or hell -- even the wrong direction

I ain't speaking English
I'm using your words and your voice in patterns that should make perfect sense to you
But your eyes that see perfectly well make you blind to the foreign girl trying to catch your attention
And make you deaf to the words I say in your language that somehow you can't understand

This is Japan
And you're Japanese
And so am I, except for the 82.5% that isn't
82.5% that makes me look different
82.5% that makes the words that roll perfectly off my non-native tongue
Sound like a language you studied for 12 years, but claim you can't speak

But I do speak
Your language and mine
And if you would just open your eyes and your ears
... fuck, OPEN YOUR MIND and give me the time
You would realize that my face and my words and my passport do not make me foreign here

You do.