Ode to Words

Been told all my young life long

My words conceal where I come from.

Fellow Jamaicans would speculate

About how I enunciate

With a too-American twang.

Not enough patois to be a yaardie.


Settled in the States at thirteen

With sparsely growing self-esteem.

Locals say my speech sounds British.

"Didn't know you spoke the Queen's english."

They demeaned me

With backhanded praise.


Their words challenged my ethnicity

Tore apart authenticity

Butchered who I thought I ought to be.


I am who I make of me.


I am a poet.


These words flow through my ink veins,

Bleeding free onto the blank page.

My heart beats out a new language,

Speaking for the times I went silent.


For I am a poet,

My words speak for me.

This poem is about: 
My community
My country


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