originally, by carol ann duffy
We came from our own country in a red room
which fell through the fields, our mother singing
our father’s name to the turn of the wheels.
My brothers cried, one of them bawling Home ,
Home , as the miles rushed back to the city,
the street, the house, the vacant rooms
where we didn’t live any more. I stared
at the eyes of a blind toy, holding its paw.
All childhood is an emigration. Some are slow,
leaving you standing, resigned, up an avenue
where no one you know stays. Others are sudden.
Your accent wrong. Corners, which seem familiar,
leading to unimagined, pebble-dashed estates, big boys
eating worms and shouting words you don’t understand.
My parents’ anxiety stirred like a loose tooth
in my head. I want our own country , I said.
But then you forget, or don’t recall, or change,
and, seeing your brother swallow a slug, feel only
a skelf of shame. I remember my tongue
shedding its skin like a snake, my voice
in the classroom sounding just like the rest. Do I only think
I lost a river, culture, speech, sense of first space
and the right place? Now, Where do you come from?
strangers ask. Originally? And I hesitate.
i wont rest until ive complained about everything
“Government is not an à la carte system where you can pick and choose based on your beliefs. Taxation is more of an all-you-can-eat salad bar. You don’t get to show up and say, ‘Look, I know it costs $10.99, but I’m only paying $7.50 because I have a moral objection to beets.
Everyone has their own version of beets. If you really want to be treated like a person, corporations, then guess what? Paying for things you don’t like is what it feels like to be one.”