I am… by Xavier Jones

I once could say it, not knowing what I was saying
Those words came as naturally as breathing
Anything contrary to the truth they taught me was blasphemy
And under He in whom I trusted, I would take any crusade

I choked on those words as my illusions went up
In the smoke of the very passion blazing inside of me
My beloved historiography had had its way with me
And left me mute, naked, and ashamed
Ashamed for having sheepishly followed a sham
Shell-shocked, I shied away from those words
And buried them under bookshelves
And by the time I completed this victimless homicide
I knew where I would run for sanctuary

But those words didn’t die, despite the alibi of my accent
As curious residents would resurrect it
The only way to reseal the unmarked grave
Was to verbally invoke my victim
And hope that Lazarus would promptly lie back down
I would give this command with firmness
Not out of confidence, but out of irritation
Maybe when it came time to dictate my memoirs
This truth would be just an introductory chapter or two
Since my profession forbids falsification

It is remarkable how History dictates to us how she will be written

The truth lived through those I couldn’t take with me
And wherever I was, I would not abandon them
Laughs, lamentations, fits of rage, moments of melancholy
Peaks of euphoria, depths of despair
All danced in the remaining blood I’d been trying to drain
Until it gathered in my fingertips, and with their pulsations implored me
Not to let the blood of others be upon them, but ink,
And so for years I obeyed, and nonetheless
My hands are still soaked by the souls I couldn’t save in time
I forget myself more and more while asking their forgiveness
Of my selfish absence which seemed increasingly senseless in this fight for survival
There was only one soul I could help to save to earn the pardon of millions
Duty called me, and silently I acknowledged the truth to answer

By week’s end the blood transfusion was complete
I was feeling disoriented and couldn’t see
But I felt lighter as I shed the weight of those tears
At which point the once inconvenient truth was laid to rest
As it found peace passing through my lips

“I am an American”

Leave a Reply