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G Yamazawa: I was so young. I don't even remember how old I was the first time I called someone gay. But I had to have been in elementary school. One day, my dad was picking me up and right before we pulled out of the parking lot, a girl waved at us with a smile like a vine. Even though she was the orchard that everyone picked on, she was still sweet and loved to be alive.
When my dad asked me why I didn't wave back, I told him it was because she was gay. He looked at me with one of those religious stares, and every bit of Buddhism in his brow raised the question, "What does that even mean?"
We all crack under peer pressure, but once you see that their earthquakes are coming from your faults, you realize how deep trembles are felt beneath the surface where things are left and forgotten. See, this was before poetry became my world. I noticed that words have gravity. I've seen them crush people from a first-person perspective. I felt a phrase fall out of my mouth like an atom bomb without the knowing the effects will radiate for years.
I've loved a language that hates people, cracking jokes trying to shatter their mirrors just because I wasn't confident in my own reflection. I hated myself for the shape of my eyes so I became a bully. Because we all want to feel like Americans sometimes, and we all want straight spines. We all want straight spines to stand for something we believe in, but it's funny how flags and people have the same knack for politely waving at the ones they have forgotten. See, as early as elementary school, my parents planted a seed, and the lotus of Buddhism began to blossom in my brain. We had a pond in the backyard, and the flat water taught me of equality, that life is the one thing we all share.
I was also taught how to pray. I've been memorizing mantras, enchanting sukhas out loud before the pledge of allegiance ever molested my lips. I was taught of cause and effect, how good is the ultimate truth that everything relies on, how the thought will turn to word as quickly as fuel becomes fire whether it's for burning down a house or for keeping a lover warm. The spark of an idea will always match the fuming language we decide to pull out of our mouth.
But I forgot that the voice does the work of the Buddha, so why would I ever call someone gay before calling them beautiful? Why would I not praise the person that drinks the same water as me? Why would I lift my voice just to put someone else down? You see, us humans, we have a habit of overpowering and taking what doesn't belong to us. But I pray that we are making our way towards the moment when our tongues are the only thing left for us to conquer. And if there's one thing that I've learned being a poet is that it's not about what you have to say in your poem. It's about what you have to say when your poem is done.
A Little Girl Waved At Him
10/8/2014 06:01:58 am
This is beautiful. It is one of those things that I am speechless after listening to/reading. What's powerful was that he accepted his wrongs, and learned from them.
10/17/2014 01:33:52 am
Fully agree, it is a beautiful speech that takes my breath away, i had to take a few minuets before i wrote my response. It is extremely powerful.
10/20/2014 12:43:19 am
I agree. It's hard enough to realize you're wrong, but to fully accept it, not make excuses for it, and strive to do better can be a monumental task, a task many people can't seem to do. Writing this poem must have taken an immense amount of courage and I'm glad that he's grown from these sorts of things and is using his experiences to encourage others to do the same.
10/27/2014 11:43:53 pm
It seems to me that for most people, being wrong about something is the worst possible outcome, and they will fight viciously against it. I'm a stubborn person, but when I am wrong, I do try to admit so, and apologize for it. I try my hardest to take the steps toward being right.
10/17/2014 12:48:26 am
I love non-theistic religions like Buddhism. It revolves around the concept of understanding everything around you. The Buddha wasn't a god or deity, it was a man who practiced and shared his belief to help and teach others to eliminate ignorance and negative energies from their lives and minds. I can't remember his name, but they called him the Buddha, means something like "The Awoken One". He set up a monastery of sorts and started teaching those who wanted to follow in his footsteps so that began Buddhism as an actual following.
10/17/2014 01:37:14 am
This poem hit me hard because i remember being in the same situation as this person. Realizing you are wrong is a tough thing to do but it can be so beautiful and powerful. Appologizing is one thing, but to anounce that your thoughts on what you believed to be wrong can really make an impact on others and yourself. What hits me most in this poem is their realization of being wrong because it is the exact same feeling i got. Its like that moment of complete clarity and suddenly you are a complete different person in just such a short amount of time. Trully beautiful.
10/20/2014 12:39:05 am
I totally agree with you Alice, some people are grown up in a family with beliefs that could rub off on their child and by realizing that some of those beliefs could be really wrong is extremely beautiful. I find it heart touching when the author says "we all want to feel American sometimes" because being a white American is apparently the norm. I agree that this written piece is deep and heart touching because he realized what he did wrong.
10/27/2014 11:25:02 pm
Agreeing that you are wrong is just so important for our society, and people to grow. I wish more people can admit to it, it takes a lot of courage but it is needed.
10/19/2014 11:16:02 pm
This is very powerful, i have to admit i was once like the man in this poem. at one stage in my life i was the bully because of the fact that i did not like my own reflection staring back at me every time i looked in the mirror. as a kid i was put down and bullied by older people so i started to hate my image and started to bully others to make myself feel better. i love this post just because of the shear power behind it. the fact that he is renouncing his old ways and atoning for what he has done in the past.
10/20/2014 12:41:00 am
Honestly I have read this multiple times and I don't understand it can someone help me out?
10/20/2014 12:41:49 am
This is moreso what society needs to move toward to. Focusing on making people comfortableave with who they are. To stop being subjective, and become accepting. Hate only breeds more hate, and srep ping up and challenginger that hate wil eventually dispel it.
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