Wise are the parents who give
their children difficult names.
Names that are a chant to God,
a sacrament with every utterance.
Or names that light a fiery rebellion
in the mulling brain.
Names that speak of the glory
that was before the slave ships.
Names that display the wonder of sky,
the Eagle, Buffalo, Wolf, Deer.
Names that should hurt and choke
Braves names spoken
by brave and unafraid people.
Names shouted loud by those
who fearlessly, openly love.
Those who dropped their names
in the easy English soil, reclaim them!
Speak it in the accent of the old country,
the tribes of the African plain and rivers,
the screech, rumble of the clouds, creatures
that gave you your forever sound.
Gather your jewels from the ashes.
Mine them until they get their attention.
Collect the pieces of your lost continents
from their miscomprehension.
Your difficult names predate centuries
of their arrogance, ignorance, prejudice.
You are history
not their rewrite.
Don’t explain your name’s meaning
to those who have forgotten your story.
You are the original and
they are the stereotype.
Bend your syllables, vowels
into a new understanding country.
Keep your difficult names