Belonging

At MONA the slam poet said
Which box do I belong in?
How can I choose just one?
I am Australian American
Russia, Poland, Latvia, Germany, England
Four continents. Triple Entente. The war.
Double entendre.
Ashkenazi. Jew. Christian.
Do I pick Caucasian?

You say. White.
So pale my veins are blue.
But these are not my people.
I am first generation, just like you.
Can't own it.
You can.
You have a different colour.
Language. Culture.
You fit in.

Mine.
Lost.
Crossed that sea. No leavened bread.
Stories. Left behind.

Even that I don't own.
Not mine. It doesn't count.
On the outside.

My friends speak Cantonese.
What did you say?
I ask while chewing my vegemite sandwich.
Your lunch is better.
Really? I want noodles.
Teach me. I want Chinese school too.
A few words.
He. She. Dog. Go. I get a little bit.
What did you just say? I ask.
My friends say it's too hard.

Philtrum. Labrum.
Laparotomy.
We all look about the same on the inside.
I speak this language.
But we're mostly upper. middle. class.
Doesn't matter what colour.
Opportunity. Money. Education.
The hard slog if you're the other.

This career's expensive.
Takes money. Takes time.
Takes school concerts. First steps. Anniversaries.
But it is belonging.
Together.
Awake. It's late. We're all tired.
Together.

Colour.
Hands up.
You say you don't belong.
Stockholm. Hate. Did they ask you too?
Is that a gun in your pocket?
They told you. Hands up.
But this is your land too.
Which box do you tick.

Other.
Other.
Other.

Miss the bus.
Which way do I go?
Why did you shoot?
Colour. Colour. Colour.

Rose-coloured glasses.
Was it better before?
Or was it quieter.
No live stream.
Black and white.
No colour. Colour. No colour.

Which box do I tick?
Cold. Quiet. Silence.
Taboo.
Under the cover.
Cover.
Duck for cover.


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