No.120: A Different Beast


all the voices,
all the people,
all the fears forget their place.
Judgments only get passed by those most detached, 
by the secret fans* with the least weight, 
and it ain't no secret--
tourists love to poke the panther's cage. 
Sometimes they gotta be reminded.
There's a different beast in this temple.
Let me set the record straight. 

Smuggled across continents like stolen cargo
and left with strangers for two years,
I learned to ignore trauma from a young age.
Old enough to know what,
too young to know why,
calling it culture shock would be a lie, 
a dilution, 
alternative facts, a book with a torn page,
a lost chapter.

Came back and it felt like the rapture,
except I was the one left behind,
a little Yoruba Bill Gates surrounded by slow classrooms and fast girls,
a lone wolf was born
and raised in an endless cave.
Some call it the mind,
some call it the clouds and say it with a dash of shade,
but I pay em no mind,
'cause the same people see the sky and call it the limit--
I call it my resting place, 
my footstool.

They tell me if only I wasn't so lazy,
they warn me 'bout the competition,
but I got a secret:
been searching for a rival since I was a fetus--
ain't met a soul worthy of the title since childhood.
My loved ones
and the irrelevant ones
both tell me they withhold compliments so I don't get prideful--
I've been lied to.

I can't lie, I get spiteful
'cause honesty is mindful
and mine ain't never been empty.
I don't got a temper but I do get testy.
So don't tempt me,
'cause I got words shaped like Uzi bullets for snakes that tempt me
and sniff the edges of my life like paparazzi
waiting for sound bites and slip-ups,
don't hold your breath.
If I hiccup, it's to give my chasers a chance.

I used to flex in my poems,
now I just write,
but sometimes I need to remind
the demons dressed like deacons
and the peanut gallery priests
and insecure feelings faking reason
and the two-cent queens
that this body hosts a different beast.

I’m a king turning humble,
Elohim is my sensei.
He ain’t never fumbled,
and this temple is Lightweight,
so tread lightly,
‘cause the light in me is more Sun than safe.

I been saved but I been savage so
exercise caution when you approach the panther,
and may your feet find haste when he wakes.

Until then, thank the cage.

* commonly referred to as haters


Photo by Hannah Troupe on Unsplash