i wince when i hear their
worlds curled by the language of
countries far away,
memories of the family and
the friends they have left behind.
their accents haunt me late into the night.
I don’t know why i cannot face them,
i myself am an immigrant.
perhaps i see them as an image
of the past i seem to be trying to escape,
running constantly away.
i think their words are a reminder to them,
but they are not ashamed,
yet i am because of the way others look
and others stare.
they stick out proudly and remind me
of my far away past.
i know that my fluid speech is a reason people
are not intimidated,
and i have worked for it,
wiping any trace of the other language from my speech,
so it is clean, you can find no fault.
i have ensured that.
polished and presented,
my language flows better than many of my peers,
yet at times the wisps of foreighn,
of other slip into my mouth again.
you are scared by the idea of
anything other than what you are
the people with accents always
the bad guys in your cartoons
the all-American hero
coming to save the helpless victim.
i see that your bias is blind,
you are not at fault,
these messages have been ingrained
into your brain long as you can remeber,
but my bias is not blind,
i know what i am doing,
i am growing up with those curls in words
around me, they are my world,
and every word said against the
curl in their words make me wince,
but yet i say nothing.
i want to help them get that trace
of old place out of their words so that
they will not feel prejudice,
or see the prying eyes.
i want them to
fit in because it is the only way that
they will not be teased.
yes, i am at fault.
i will not deny that.
but so is the system,
becaus we relentlessly push away
those we view as "other",
and we refuse to accept that we
too once were "other" to this country.
i write this poem as a release of
my weaknesses and my hate,
i do not want to hide anymore,
i don't want to polish anymore,
i don't want to clean what wasn't dirty in
the first place.
i will not wipe away the last traces
of my family.
of my heritage.
of my pride.
and now when i hear the