No Brackets on my Tongue


Why you (wan’) change me?

Why you (wan’) me speak

like your Queen when I

have my own monarchy?

(I’se) liberated now!

What part of my tongue, you can’t understand?

Why you don’t never try to?

You have my people

(wit’) my color

(correckin’) me, (teachin’) me that our language

(ee’n) have no business

on our land.

You have Caribbean English

classes that (wan’) tame my tongue

in brackets and italics!

I (tought) we liberated (na’)?

What wrong (wit’) me wanting to feel

my roots

planted in my throat, whipping off my tongue?

What wrong (wit’) sounding

like whining waists and goat skin drums?

You (wan’) chap up words

to make it easier for you to read!

But you (gin’) read this here poem.

You (gin’) listen to me:

I know plenty a’ tings, you could learn.

Tanicia Pratt