[Originally posted to my new writing blog @ Cradle of Cicadas. Hope to get more of my creative writing posted there. I sometimes think I really don’t have the tact or patience for political writing so creative writing is really my forte.]

Artist’s Note: Recently I was thinking about a critique I wrote on the top ten things I just could not stand about Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series which I really enjoyed when I first started reading. Someone commented rather scornfully on the fact that I said that hearing French sometimes makes me almost literally ill in the same sentence that I “complained” about racism in the books. I can never make anyone understand why I feel the way I do or think the way I think because they are not me and have not lived my life.  That doesn’t stop me from writing.

Le Cliche au France

did you know? did you know?

they whispered sweet nothings

in the ears of slaves

promising revolution

to white sheets

instead of hands in the fields

and Black women whose

children sometimes

belonged to masters

who impregnated

unwilling bodies

with sensual tongues

and fondling hands

did you hear? did you hear?

Haiti the Horse

dropped her french master’s load

and demanded freedom

so he told her

in the world’s most romantic language

“of course you may have your independence

however you must pay me for the labor you have

taken from me”

the english that my mouth speaks

is called “dialect”

called broken

called uneducated

my english

isn’t really considered english

because it isn’t the queen’s

or plymouth rock’s

nor is it flowery

and nor does it roll its rrrr’s

or rise from the grave of antiquity

if it isn’t worth anything

then why is my tongue constantly

colonized by the color of white skin

and silenced

by mixed skin

and colored skin

they say french

is the most romantic language

the language of love

yet a french tongue

can still speak white

and speak hate

with chains and flowers

and bloody wine

its a well-documented history

in spite of the revolution

and I’m still a Black woman

wherever I happen to go

no matter who I’m talking to

so when french tongues speak

i may find it soft and pleasing on the ear

but i still get a little sick inside

and don’t think anything special

because i know that this tongue

has made me wear chains

just like the tongue of the colonizer

in my own mouth


2 thoughts on “Le Cliche au France

  1. Thats a lovely poem. What it describes, the historical enslavement of blacks and continuing effects upon their descendants, makes the listener feel uncomfortable or ‘a little ill inside’ but the sound of the poem, the tone and rhythme, seem quite lovely at the same time. Which is what you intended and I seem to be stateing the obvious so i will just shut up and go over to your writing blog to see what other wonderful things you may have written 😛

    1. Thank you, you’re the first person on a short list to read it and get at what intended in it’s meaning. It is meant to be a spoken word piece but its a relief to see that reading it also has impact and meaning. Thank you, again, and please feel free to stop by Cradle of Cicadas, here on WordPress.

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