Toto Leaga (Bad Blood)

When I was 10,
While brushing my teeth I noticed
my gums bleeding-
And my mother told me
That it was just bad blood leaving the body.
That I’m doing such a good job,
At respecting myself.
So I kept on brushing.
Through the blood.
I was upset
That self love required my blood be spilt
So I doubted her statement
And passed it off as
something she heard around the village.
Well, forgive me
For ever doubting my mom.
I have had the displeasure of meeting bad blood
On many occasions since then.
And having to cleanse myself over
And over
And having to spill blood over
And over
Is a draining ordeal.
Bad blood enters your life
With a smile
And the misconception
That you can trust him this time.
And he sits there,
At the very bottom of your heart,
Like an uninvited dinner guest
He chewed so loudly
You couldn't hear your impending doom.
He spoke with gunpowder breathe
And every kiss on your skin was a bullet hole.
Bad blood
Forces himself into people.
...
We are born as shrines to ourselves.
Yet we are never born prepared
To be desecrated.
And the world still expects us to sing the same way
And the world still expects us to trust the same way
I want you to really acknowledge
The fact that everyday
You walk passed hundreds of desecrated shrines.
Hundreds of defiled bodies
Hundreds of breaking and entering and never leavings.
You are not alone.

And I applaud all of you
I applaud all of us
Walking battle wounds
Who still manage to wake up every morning
To Fix our hair
To put on our best selves
And keep brushing our teeth.
Despite the pain.
Despite the village.
Despite the bad blood.

This poem is about: 
Me
My family
My community
My country
Our world

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