Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Crossed Wires

I read a children's book on a girl coming to America from China and her troubles learning English(which even one an award, back in the eighties). While the book itself felt greatly patronizing, it did get me thinking about what it's like to leave your old life behind to live in a new country, which I wrote of before, if I remember correctly(I'll post it up as soon as I can find it in my physical archives), but never from the view from someone who's living with the fact in the country. Those thoughts inspired this poem, which I eventually hope to turn into either a children's book or a comic of some sort. At any rate, give it a read and let me know what you think.

On the first day of 1st grade,
My teacher called on me
I could answer her perfectly
'Cause answers were all I knew

When that metal hawk left Japan
A carryon carried my life
But one thing just wouldn't fit
That one thing was Chie

She spoke in ways I understood,
sharing her tales and cookies
She spurred me on and made me strong,
Like no one else ever could

In fact no one else ever did
Try and put things in my reach
Even other kids with their colorful words
the kind schools never dare teach

In this school I was the zebra
Among a pack of giraffes
It was as if I had no mouth
Until Ms. Duvall gave me one

She tutored me when school was done
And showed me utmost care
With her, my English became my pallate
To paint energy in motion

She had me saying hi, hey and hello
To all I met in Torrance
She helped me grow more and more
My joy with her grew more and more

In time I only had one thing left
And that was try to make friends
But practicing English with my peers
Unlocked the shackles restraining my fears

"You sound like a FOB!
Your mom taking our jobs?
Me love you long time
Just go with your own kind"

Shattered-my desire for friends
Silenced-my passion for English
Scrapped-my love of school time
Sullied-my faith in others

The stir of words went up in smoke
Adrift above the recess ground
I watched from atop the Jungle Gym
A world now oceans apart

And so, for, the hands of time
Lead me to who I once was
But as I walked, I found a note,
It's tongue of the home I left behind

"I know you're angry, I know you're hurt
But silence isn't the answer
How can they know what's in your heart
If you won't let anyone hear it?"

At first, it left me quite perplexed
Who could know the tongue of my home?
But then it hit me who studied it
And that was Ms. Duvall

The day after I read that note
It stayed within my jean's pocket
It's message lit something deep inside
Which I felt as I sat down for lunch

Beside me was a girl in plaid
Who stirred her chocolate pudding
I lifted my eyes and flashed a smile
Extending to her, my hand

Since then, we've grown to be BFFs
Sharing life's many grand spendors
Should Ms. Duvall Ever come across this
Thanks for everything, Linda

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