Don't Speak Rich

My mother was an English teacher.

My mother is an english teacher.

She was an english teacher because her overeducation

left her pointlessly in debt and des-ti-tute -- but for shame I say that she is retired

She is an english teacher because she continues to hold a voice

Speaking of her

Globally Analytic perspective and opinions

 

Rather it a voice of cynicism or of truth

One can only subject

But she holds a voice of what she sees a voice of the hon-es-ties

 

Once she worked in the inner-city

In a charter that was no longer selective

I was but 16 when I went -- I became reflective

We parked the car, wall’ed in the government’s compound

 

She took a deep breath, a heavy, sharp, cold, steel in her throat

Three words-- that voice of hon-es-ty that cau-ght me , by surprise.

Don’t.

Speak.

Rich.

 

Don’t speak rich?

I’m not rich?

Rich with what?

Does a rich kid know what a bullet’s fury sounds like

Does a rich kid know the pains of having no friends

 

Do I know the pain of pulling peers from the middle of the street

Or having to rush to the pharmacy with a friend because this time

His sibling cut too deep- and was bleeding out in the bathtub of their small apartment?

Having to act strong, when it hits you like a ship

that the world is drastically wrong!

 

Do I know of having to move in with my mother's mentally abusive boyfriend

Because she was too expensive to keep on the payroll

 

Do I know the difficulty in being told that if I chose to go to school, to get a education

instead of laboring on a roof trying, pleading to make that same bastard boyfriend like me- that it would be my fault-- if he continued to scoff as I entranced a room

 

Do I still feel the shingles bouncing off my skull as his 19 year old son and friends threw them at a 13 year old. A 13 year old Who wanted to say that he kept determined to pick up every single one as he had been ordered by the pisspot of a man but who hid and cried.

 

Do you know the icy blue gaze of my determination, sharp enough to cut steel

To live every day as a memento to the man who said “You will never be respected, you aren’t worth shit or the ground that I spit on. You lazy ass kid. You don't deserve respect.”

(exhale)

 

Three words-- that voice of honesty that caught me , by surprise.

Don’t.

Speak.

Rich.

 

Don’t speak rich?

I’m not rich?

Rich with what?

 

I am rich with a voice.

My voice is my own

A roar that is ready to change the world-

A roar that will be mute no longer

Because if it is mute --  he is right.

 

Don’t speak rich

What is rich

Why would people care if I did speak rich?

 

We all have struggles, and stories and pains

And if we stop judging the black for their melon

Or the gay for their realities

Or the artists for their passion that you will never understand

Or the unemployed because “it’s their fault for being fucked by the system”

Or the poor for their struggles

 

Or the rich because they. Have. money!

We might stand together in better unity

And maybe we won't have to hid from the already hiding.

 

I may live in the town which was voted most posh in the state

I may go to a High School which name alone puts my application in the top 20%

But if there is a day when I open my front door and walk down the hall without hearing the wailing of broken families,

The wails of families without relationships

Or the wails of those - the suicide victims left behind.

 

Then! I will shut up.

I will bellow richly, releasing who I am.

Poetry Slam: 
This poem is about: 
Me
Our world

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