aryelee

United States

19 and boppin

Message from Writer

out of the deck of lgbt cards, im the ace

im dippin in like one week y'all should know where to find me by now

twisting intricacies of two mother tongues

August 25, 2019

FREE WRITING

9

I still stumble over my words.
my tongue twists and tangles as I fight my way through vowels
consonants diphthongs and everything in between --
                    take a breath.
                        start again.

this language is one I had clung onto as a child,
clumsy fingers grasping desperately lest I lose it
never to be found again.
I was taught only one alphabet in school;
the other, I burned into my memory night after night
                                                                                    just to spell my own name.

I am to be praised and ridiculed in equal measure --
        shouldn't you know how to speak it by now?
                oh, you can't read that? what a shame.
                        are you sure you're really a [REDACTED].


even my own father, confident in his whiteness, his privilege,
tells me to study the language I've spoken since birth,
the language he doesn't know,
as if I hadn't cried and spoken in whispers and shouts,
as if I hadn't fought to keep my mother's language close to my chest,
                                 
                                                            as if I hadn't been looked down on enough yet.

you'll have to take a proficiency test if you want to live here,
he tells me during the longest five hours of my life,
where my rage boils over and I realize
                I am not a daughter to him.                
                                                                        I am an object to be shown off.


so I plaster on a smile and mix it with a grimace,
layer thinly veiled insults onto him in the only language he knows
then turn around and speak with full confidence to an employee
who say nothing of my stumbles and halts and treats me like I am meant to speak their tongue.

this is the language of my family,
                                                    (the one that matters at least)
this is the language of convenience
                                                     (fit for a country I wish to leave)

                it'll take more than the world's judgement to keep me quiet in either one.
                        





even if I stumble over my words when I say that.


 

hi im ranting about my dad bc he annoys me lol. this is why i don't talk to him unless i have to.

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  • August 25, 2019 - 2:33pm (Now Viewing)

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6 Comments
  • Dani A. Remlap

    I really love this.
    You, Ahna, and Agustdv are some of my favorite writers on here.


    about 1 year ago
  • jaii

    absolutely beautiful. i love the structure.


    about 1 year ago
  • IwillWRITE!13

    There is sadness and joy and beauty in this piece, nice job.


    over 1 year ago
  • r|A|i|N

    agree with everything loveletters and anha said. this is a masterpiece.
    also when i first read the title, i looked at your profile picture, and then back again... kind of funny.


    over 1 year ago
  • loveletterstosappho

    thank you for this piece. the struggle to keep hold of one's culture when submerged in another one is so vivid here that it hurts, and the way you manipulate structure to convey this is masterful.


    over 1 year ago
  • Anha

    woah woah woah. this is passion in a poem. your linguistics is really coming out in this piece, and i love how you've managed to tie in that inextricable fear of losing one's culture. it's?? so perfect??? the stanza that had 'even my own father, confident in his whiteness, his privilege' gave me shivers; it's such a valid point, and that physical rift that you're able to manifest through your words is undeniably powerful. i wish i could speak the native tongues of my parents, but school made that incredibly difficult; i'm sure you can empathise. my mum showed me a video of me as a toddler speaking fluent cantonese the other day, and i was totally taken aback at how on earth a girl more than a decade younger than me had preserved her culture to the point where she could speak it. i know i'm making this really personal, but tldr; i get your struggle and your dad kinda sounds like a dick.


    over 1 year ago