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.