“I, Stutter” by Rayon Lennon

Rayon Lennon


Dear King,
I am tired of thinking
About racism the way
I am tired of worrying
About no sun past
Dying the way I am tired
Of thinking about
Being fluent as a freeway
Even though I’ve stuttered
Since I was green in
A Jamaican countryside
Unaware I was even
Black the way
Now how snow
Lights up New
Haven the way
I’m cold as darkness
Shadowing a shrinking
Man crossing
A street in clapping
Steel boots the way true love
Has eluded me like real
Death the way
A white woman
In a black club once held
Me like hot coffee
And sipped from my
Mouth like she could turn
Me to wine the way
Afrobeat turned
Old hip hop to new
School punk rap to raw
Dancehall to crickets when
I stuttered a joke
In her ear and fear grew
Her eyes and she shrieked thinking
I had said something
Ugly to her when
I had said let’s go home
Later and love each other
But she might have shrieked
At the word home
Because home is life,
My friend, and you gave
Yours for ours, like the Bible
Says but didn’t the way
A Jamaican club
Can be America the way
The beat bounces off
The walls in between
Loneliness the way
Everybody’s body is
One tally once the music
Injects spirits the way
Once on a date a fire
Jamaican woman rejected
Me like my mother country
For being too Jamerican
The way a white man twice
Asked me to tell him
My story during
An interview for clinical
Labor at a detention
Center and I said
I stutter but
Didn’t say my angst
Came in a slave
Ship and I’m still
Silent but crying out
Because I want
My planet
To want me
The way I want my life
To be fluent as heaven
The way our devil
President’s in love
With golf the way I am
Because it’s therapy
And paradise
The way my present
Boss can rifle out
An email demanding more
Work in less time
Because my time
Was bought and sold the way
I want to respond
But don’t because
My boss has a boss
Who has a boss who has
A president who has a god
Who knows my thoughts
And yours and knows
We don’t reply because
All lives stutter the way
Death keeps tapping
At our door because
We can’t buy back
Time the way we are
Sick again from
Spring landing
With another police
Killing the way I wake
Up from a perfect world
Each day.

from Poets Respond
April 2, 2019


Rayon Lennon : “In general, I don’t support Trump, but I recently read a Facebook post by a smart friend criticizing Trump for golfing too much. I started to golf two years ago and I am addicted to the peace it brings me, and I told myself that, if I were president, I would be golfing all the time too. So, sigh, I understand why Trump golfs a lot. At least that’s one thing I have in common with him. I was shocked to find myself defending Trump and my friend was too. I think it got me thinking about things we aren’t allowed to say, and it got me thinking about my life-long stutter and all the things I didn’t use to say because I stutter. All the things I say in poems now.” (web)

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