Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Day 29: Only Duty

My first day of school my teacher wouldn’t let me us the bathroom

Not until I could ask her properly

I was 5

We shared Similar skin tones

But I was


Talked with different tongues

Opposite accents

Parents are supposed to prepare their children for kindergarten

But mine

Strapped land mines to my melanin

Threw me in the deep end and told me to swim

So I tred

Taught being brown is curse,

But to wear it like pride

cultured to staple a new vocabulary to my cuff every morning

Learning words that would satisfy my cultural thirst

forget happiness

Cultural renaissance comes first

And the seeds of the sovereignty leaders trees are cut from the branches early

Surrendered to the cause

But children

Do not understand the idea of sacrifice

That prices are needed to be paid in order for anything to be saved

Only learn that self-preservation takes presidents

But are given no instrument to implement defense

So backwards in our minds

We learn to tear our own husk from our peers

How to hate from our mothers

And curse from our fathers

From whom do we learn to heal

Our grandmothers are the only ones who have learned to forgive and we cant speak the same language as them

So we race against the decay of language

But the taste of our kings words have become bitter on our tongues

Like sour poi

Rinse our mouths with our regrets

Trying to find purpose

Learning sacrifice

Is a tool our mothers teach like martyrdom

It tastes the same to us but is forced from our lips with different names

When do we learn anything other than blame

That shame is more than skin deep

And our mother cannot scrub it away before bed time

There is resentment beaten into our knee caps

Like aihaa

Sweat respect at the feet of our kumu

From muscle to memory

Follow orders


we hela

place tired foot to cold floor board


We kaholo


We jump

Practice makes perfect robots

Dance for our fathers

Our grandmothers

We learn protocol before nursery rhymes

And perpetuate cycles like wildfire

We are the sacrificed

The lucky enough to learn half dead languages but not given a choice between which tongue is split at the end of the day

And whether or not the splinters from the remains pierce or hearts or brains

At the end of the day are the two the same?

If we are the future does that mean we cannot claim our own present

I have very few regrets

Most notable being unable to love myself through adversity

While second guessing my family decision to set me on an awkward path to eduction

There is something in lifes lesson that I’ve managed to miss

Ive gone through the equation

Never able to simiply any variable to come to a conclusion

But this

Sacrifice is nothing to find shame in

Find only strength in the remains of my self esteem and the fact I made it through able to read

I find comfort in my ability to understand sacrifice

And know


There is rarely


Really a choice

only duty


  1. I really like this one, I've always wondered what your experience was there. Favorite images: "cultured to staple a new vocabulary to my cuff every morning" and "Strapped land mines to my melanin." thanks for the insights

  2. i dont regret the experience for a second. like i said in the poem as a kid we dont understand sacrifice and the importance and significants. i feel honored to have gone to school there but its interesting how things look when you are in the situation and then how the look changes once you have been completely removed from it for years.
    glad you liked it :)