January 28, 2014

Lo Stesso. ~ Kathryn Herbert {Poem}

They look at you with

Arrogance as you try to speak
Their language as you stumble
And you stutter.
You think you sound all right but
They know you sound awful.

As long as they understand
What you’re saying
No parlo inglese.
No parlo italiano.
It will all be okay.

These people, if they were in
Your shoes would they understand or
Do they think it’s only Americans
Who struggle with being anything other
Than Americans and speaking anything
Other than English?
We’re all JFK
Ich bin ein Berliner.

We are all doughnuts
Deep-fried on Jersey tanning beds
Being filled with foreign words until they
Push out against our doughy
American skin
Because all Americans are doughy with
McDonald’s and Burger King,
Hamburgers and
extra fries, please!

As if they don’t have McDonald’s anywhere else—
We all know they do
McDonald’s is in every country and
In Florence, Italy there are two within 500 feet
Of each other.

Don’t let them fool you
They enjoy it just the same although
They think theirs is better because
It’s theirs

And we think we’re better because
We’re us
But it’s all the same just as
We are all the same but

Like a litter of puppies with
Different markings but
the same DNA.

So we stutter and stumble and try
To show that we are one of them
We are not us, we are them

Can’t you see?
Tu sabes?

But we are not the same because
We refuse to believe we are
The same people wrapped in different clothing
The same minds disguised by different hair
The same, in denial that we are.
So we order our burger and fries
And try to deny what we are
The same
Yet different.

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Assistant Editor: Melissa Petty/Editor: Bryonie Wise

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Kathryn Herbert