my name is my fucking weapon. How’d you like that?
My blade that cuts through the fat of your cultures,
slicing out pieces so I can suck on the gobbets,
grow strong on the things you’d kept for your personal comforts,
grow sleek on your inadequacies
because unlike you, we’ve never had it easy.
But anyway, we’re:
Do not presume my name is for you, motherfucker.
We’re older than you.
Ten thousand years wiser.
We were teaching poetry when your ancestors were climbing trees,
singing whalesong to the nagas and extracting mathematics from the bees.
We know the secret names of your spices:
cardamon, and saffron—
oh, yes, we know you stole them too.
But that’s okay, we’re in agreement.
We’ll eat you from inside out and remake this world from the bones of you fools.
Watch us, assholes.
Like you weren’t doing that already.
Putting out warrants for anyone who looks suspicious,
always vigiliant for patterns
and tattoos of dragons,
for scales on our skins
like a portent of sins.
You’re scared of us.
So, you compartmentalized us,
put us in boxes,
pit us against each other,
one demon against another.
You told us we were the enemies then ran behind a wall and hid.
Banging on drums
clutching your guns
one eye out for when the dust is gone
so you can come out and say, “This was ours all along.”
Well, I’ve got news.
We were here before you were even a bad idea
And we will be here when you’re a long distant fear.
When your blood is diluted,
because as much as you hate us,
you can’t help but want to be us.
We will devour you, I promise.
But I am diverging from my original intent.
I am here to tell you that I didn’t go with the anglicized name.
I liked the sound of it
and the way it sits.
Because it is one word among the many I’ve learned and how dare you, motherfucker, how dare you assume that it is yours to keep?
The letters of my name caught in the daggers in my teeth?
every iteration of every connotation?
The history set between these syllables—
well, I don’t think you heard me the first time so let’s raise the decibels.
Mine, motherfucker, mine.
(Editors’ Note: “Protestations Against the Idea of Anglicization” is read by Amal El-Mohtar on the Uncanny Magazine Podcast Episode 15A.)
© 2017 by Cassandra Khaw