On borrowing from dead white men
I may draw influence from the milk running through your veins but that does not make me yours/ that does not mean I owe you my allegiance/ anymore than I owe my allegiance to the gods/ I don't believe in what strings can be drawn from vocabulary/ do not believe in fealty/ I do not lick your heels and face and brush my tongue on your tweed jackets and pull on your boot-laces/ I am no dog/ I am no fly on the wall listening/ I am even now whistling as I wind my way between the conversing bodies/ observed or unnoticed/ and I may even let you touch me/ I may also sigh and scratch at your fingers with my claws/ bite your hand because I do not need you to feed me/ If you do not like my ingratitude that is your issue/ I am as welcome here as anywhere else/ which is very/ I know you think I'm pretty/ did not need you to tell me/ as if that was the most important thing about me/ Love me or hate me I'll be sipping coffee and rapidly aging out of desirability/ Loss is alright with me/ I have this poetry you cannot take from me/ You may own patterns/ but you cannot own the stories I thread through them or the way I expand a form to envelop me and cradle my children/ Who says you are my betters because you lived first and suppressed me/ Who says I get to live in your shadow forever crowing loyalty/ feigning praise and thanking you for the honor you stole from my mothers/ left strapped to the doctor's tables/ I did not duck the blade to be reborn subject/ I will not genuflect to a dead man rutting against his gravestone over the proneworshippers and whisperers/ The wanderers know better than to kneel to you/ We owe you nothing in return.
K! is a gender fluid poet from the Northampton Poetry Open Mic. They have had their work read on Poetry á la Carte and published in, "Could You Please Pass the Poem," an experimental anthology pulled together by Huimin Wan, and, "Feelings Welcome," a Slamchop Publication. K!'s poetry draws influence from spoken word and explores themes of gender, identity, and anxiety. Come to Northampton Poetry to hear more work by this poet and look out for a chapbook coming in Spring 2017.