I’m exhausted – a poem about cultural appropriation and the beauty of cultures

(Performed at Camerons Poetry night)

I am constantly ripped apart with Racism,
Where colour blind hypocrites claim to dine,
in the full spectrum, but so often unwind,
the rainbow when they are all embalmed in wine.

The atrocities we have witnessed to protect one colour, The centuries of slaves and pointy white uniformed holy-folk,
Who pedalled death, burning signs with fire and rope.
From bigotry to phobias well…they’re simply exhausting.  

So you see the horrors of what was once very real has led me to take up the new deck and cut…5 verses…dealing to the left then? I’m now fatigued with the new kid in town,
The millennial way to take offence, hate, divide or put someone down.

When someone embraces a culture not theirs,

or dares to ride on another man’s horse due to beauty…and not hide!
Judgmentally told to look and not touch, and never to steal.
The word to celebrate has now been replaced with the offence to well…ap-prop-riate.

For a culture to now demand that permission is sought,
So I now need to ask, for my dreadlocks and tattoos or you’ll take me to task?

But what if I asked 1 member of your fine ancient nation,

If I caused offence with my cultural appropriation.
And If he said no, he’s honoured to share,
His history, his stories, his nation’s past.
Well doesn’t that stop the issue dead in its tracks?

As appropriation is to steal or simply to snatch.
To take without someone else’s permission,
But I asked your friend with no prohibition!   And If he had taken offence and said simply no,
Well I would have come back and simply said,
That I wanted to share his land and show,
The world, the beauty of his cultural glow.

So you see us people with souls are being purely objective,
And the offence you take is painfully subjective.
But it offends me that YOU have labelled ME,
As someone whose out to empty your seas. I don’t want an end to all that makes you,
But I do want to rejoice and enjoy what creates you.
It’s fresh and new and steeped in history,
Much like mine is, which is no mystery.

And I don’t want to dilute what you need to reserve,
I am a part of a group that just wants to preserve.
And I have no friends from your far distant land,
To prove to the world that I’m not biased or bland.

In my taste and choice of all that I love,
To empathise with you not push and not shove.
So I want to protect all that makes up your life,
With no agenda, colonialism, profit or lies.

You see I just like his skin art and I love your hair,
And just wish I could pull off the same with such flair.
But I’m exhausted of proving my authentic intentions,

So please don’t accuse me of cultural appropriation.


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