I Broke English
I’m trying to get better at it,
I swear I am.
I’m trying to reach my full potential,
But right now I have a fool’s potential.
It’s the only abstract thing you can break
And that is—
My parents have broken English.
But did they have to pay for it?
Is English a vase with a price tag?
I thought that was called China for a reason?
Was English a mishandled shipment
With the label “fragile” on it?
Is English a person whose feelings have been hurt?
I thought that’s why there are therapists for him or her?
Anyways, my mom once asked me,
“How come read and read look the same?
But read and red sound the same?”
And my dad asked,
“Why is it pronounced lie-in,
Instead of lie-on?”
I always hear the saying, “I put the emphasis on the wrong syllable,”
But really, who here determines such things?
I always hear the question “Can I use the bathroom?”
Only to be hit back with “I don’t know, can you?”
Well, guess what.
May I tell you a secret?
I don’t really care, I just need to use it.
Heck, we need math to solve English.
Do we derive the root from the word?
And finally get an origin?
This plays an integral part
In our English.
People use it around the world!
Instead of hearing Bonjour! Or Hola!
Hey! Hello! What’s up!
Because French isn’t universal
We don’t get to hear
“Je ne parle pas en francais”
And same for Spanish
We don’t hear
“Yo no hablo espanol”
But instead, we hear around the world
“I don’t speak very good English”
Much like my broken brain
I can’t piece it together
How this dang jigsaw puzzle
It’s difficult to speak in these words
Without tripping up.
Trust me it was hard to memorize,
I swear, I was all caught up
In the moment of knowing these letters.
But I didn’t take into account
The meaning of grammar—
It’s a nail that’s hard to hammer
The meaning of pronunciation—
I don’t know, can you hear my enunciation
The meaning of punctuation—
Maybe I can put an exclamation?
Or make it a question!
I finally figured out what English is.
It’s a law that I’ve broken several times
But can get away with it
Because I was born with the proper accent and the language.
I performed this for my final project, senior year, in high school for the Slam Poetry assignment. It's an original, and it may not have the same effect as saying the words out loud, but I decided to publish it anyway.