Wednesday, May 13, 2015

King Kaya




Rainbow-loom maker, dollar bill taker,

Mass producer of pastry crumbs,


Keep your arms at your side

When the dock workers salute.


Groove on past the corner where happy foot soldiers

Play cards en masse, and when the Colonel asks,

Show him your twenty-three

Pairs of tangled shoelaces.


And when the Third Reich approves of

Your genetic mutations, resign.

Tell them nevermind.

You won't sing their campfire songs.


Then move along.


Draw a line in the sand.

Draw a path to a star.

Shine so bright the sun spits jealousy rays so insane

Clouds ripple with waves of crimson rage.


Be the reason old women turn to each other on that day and ask,

"Did you see that?”


Once you've dug deep and found

Your inner strength runs deeper

Than you could ever dream,

Use it to build the strength in others.

Remember: might is nothing without right.

Consider London’s ancient, dark tower - hallways

Cloaked with headless ghosts sharing your eye color.


Think of your father's people, too,

Ottomans who know a thing or two about slaughter —

Just ask an Armenian cab driver.


What I'm saying is, son—

Be powerful, but not in a harmful way.


Because you are powerful. Yes, you are.

You are wonderful and brave.

Doesn't matter you have yet to meet

A chore you couldn't delay,

And you haven't found the one thing

That makes your heart race, the one thing

You wish could do

And nothing else forever and ever,

And if you could,

You would change the spelling of that thing

With the letters of your name and repeat it

Over and over until someone (probably your sister)

Threatens your life unless you stop saying it.


Nevermind sometimes it seems you're just doodling along,

Doodling in class, doodling during a song,

Doodling in the air when your eyes are asleep,

Doodling with your eyes when your hands are empty.


Those doodles are simply signs of things to come,

And signs are what help us find our way.


What I'm saying is, son —

You can do anything.


Think of your sister,

Of whom you adore, adored by all,

A girl who sheds tears for dogs of deserters

And collects new friends like paper flowers.

Except when, in a snap, she switches temperament,

A Siren hell bent on sinking sailors with verse, before

Slinking away to her cave to feast on their thirst.

After licking her fingers free of grease and regret,

(And with bones buried next to her ballet flats), she looks

Up with a smile and a song and a laugh, asking,

“Which of my loved ones should I devour next?”


Don't let her devour you.

Be better than that.

You are not the cause of someone's bad day.

You are not the remedy either.


And when your sister reemerges back into

Her flower-shape, loved by all,

Adored by all, Princess of Song,

Don't let her shiny nickel kindness

Make you feel like a million bucks.

Don't let it make you feel like a penny either.


What I'm saying is, son —

You come from a long line of kings,

And you are the King of your own self-worth,

And you are worth everything.


—and when I say that you come from a long line of kings,

I don't mean the Plantagenet leaves on your family tree,


But the King you call grandfather,

The one in Mississippi,

Who arranges weekly church meetings

To welcome the Rainbow Men,

Men who some men in his generation

Would never welcome,

The King who rubs his wife's feet in front of the TV

And wonders what in the world he'd do without her.

The King who places flowers on his son’s grave

And calls his daughters three times

For every one time they call back,

If for no other reason than to repeat

The same three words his girls

Have heard since the King first wept

Beside ribbons sewn in pink.


—and when I say you come from a long line of kings,

I don't mean the Hun warriors

Who pillaged and plundered,

Conquered and enslaved,

The great lords of horses and blood and war

Who craved victory above all things.


But the other King you call grandfather,

The one in Izmir, a king

Whose mere presence claims victory

Over the storms raging

In the hearts of everyone around him.

The King who needs very little

And asks for even less,

Who spends sweltering afternoons

With watercolors of sailboats and wisteria gardens.

The King who hums so prettily

Painting the miracle of water

That wild felines curl their backs

Against the bricks of his balcony

And forget their thirst,

And morning is a chance to be born again.


What I'm saying is, son —

Nobility is not inherited.

It lives inside a person's character,

And I want so much for you.


I want you to be King.


So you're the second child,

So you're the youngest child,

So you lose your mother at sleep,

So you lose your father regularly to a computer screen,

So your shoes were untied when they handed out sunscreen,

So you were misfitted in other people's hand-me-down expectations from day one,

And since that day, you've tried to keep up, and it never seems enough,

So you've been given everything but the only thing you’ve ever wanted...


So you're a messy child, an unruly child, a natural disaster —


My love, you are my disaster,

And you are the most beautiful disaster I've ever known.

And every time I ask about your day, I'm really asking for your forgiveness.


Don't let life's peasant days and common ways steal your crown.


What I'm saying is, son —

You are everything.


-Erin Passons, 5-13-2015
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