I Am Not Your Other

I am not your other

I am magne cum laude and uptown Harlem slang.
I am English named, classically trained improvisation with Yoruba dialect.
I am sugar, spice, but everything Negro,
dark cocoa cocooned in the ashes of the capitalist brimstone,
covered by the Blood but
baptized in cages,
baptized in bullets,
baptized in tears, 
mother’s to be specific.

I am not other,
I am just different,
but when I’m not just your entertainment
I’m probably just myth, big dick, fried chicken, and pigment to you.
I’m more and less than human to you.

I had to prove my allegiance to your standard
at the cost of my jigaboo.
You had me out here acting like I was swooned by your accolades
as if this holy milk, honey, and agape wasn’t given to me freely. 

Know that this dark fire breathing through my pen
thanks you for teaching me cursive,
for teaching this monkey the language of his oppressor
and beating into him the art of stroking the white savior’s ego.
But know that this monkey might shed his mask
once he learns your secrets.
Know that a mere monkey I am not.
Meant for your leash, I am not.
Fit for consumption, I am not.

I am the spook who trained by the door.
I am the problem you’ve been expecting.
I am the other you left unattended, unaccounted for
until you saw potential.
I am the bastard you left out on the street
to rot, 
to bleed, 
to assimilate,
the rose you left to grow from concrete,
thinking you could adopt me once my roar found full maturity.

You cannot, will not box me.

We both know if you can’t claim and tame me
you will try to systematically rape me,
you will try, and try,
for naught,
knowing your nooses can’t quite hold my soul.

I have been told to heap burning coals on you.
That’s more love than you deserve.
But I will obey the King of kings, Other of others.

But know: I am your brother.
But we are not family. 
I am not your friend.
But you don’t want me as an enemy.
You want to break me
‘cause I fail to hate me,
‘cause you failed to shape me--

I tried
to speak your flavor of English,
to worship your white Jesus.
I tried
to play your Bach pieces and learn like a drone
in your factory of a classroom.

I still try.
But no longer with the intention of assimilation. 

Benjamin Raji