"There are so many roots to the tree of anger
that sometimes the branches shatter
before they bear...
I who am bound by my mirror
as well as my bed
see causes in colour
as well as sex
and sit here wondering
which me will survive
all these liberations."
(from Who Said It Was Simple, by Audre Lorde)
The language I write in will never be my own,
my accent either an apology or a betrayal, my choices
doused with flammable history, fragile at the end of a match.
My skin will always carry with it the memory of oppression.
My sex will be a signpost, a barrier, a letter of inferiority.
I'm angry at the weight I have to carry.
I'm angry at history, at sorrow, at the tears of blood,
at misrepresentation and no representation, at the lies
of law, the blind faith, the scars, the servile compliance,
the leftovers, the ladders of grief, the child-sized coffins,
the loss of identity, the tall tales, the powerlessness, the sin.
I'm angry at the inevitability of this narrative.
Learning to negotiate the chasms between theory and reality,
I tiptoe the blurring lines of forgetting and recollecting.
Trace out a situation, hold it up to the light, watch the
shadowy dance of political economy and heart-thumping humanity.
Most of all, I'm guilty that I'm not affected enough, guilty for
my education my privilege my facade of white and superior.
I'm guilty for the American sitcoms the denim shorts
the stuttering Hindi the hazy memory of mythology.
Guilty for the jokes I laugh at: sexist racist thoughtless.
Guilty for this intellectual academic knowledge of the stories
I carry inside of me and around me, the liberation handed out
to me freely, as much as I could ask for: guilty for knowing only from afar,
being able to forget at will.