Jarius Jones

 

What I Hear

By: Jarius Jones


What I hear.

I’m not referring to the sounds of this room.

These are deafening bullets of ignorance shrouded by gloom.

These rounds are of a different caliber; they pierce the soul and poison the mind,

But the crime is unknown to the offender.

It’s ignored and neglected because he or she “didn’t know any better.”

 

What I hear.

Let me rephrase that. It should be what WE hear.

You hear it too, but you choose not to listen.

You may claim you are listening at this very moment,

But as soon as I stop speaking, your memory will go dormant.

Forgotten.

These words will die to never be resurrected.

Dead.

Please, I ask you to hone your listening ability and hear me out as I read my poem’s eulogy.

 

What I hear.

A stranger walks up to me as if to give me a greeting and before even meeting,

I’m asked, “What are you?”

Wow. Not “hello”, not “What’s your name?”

These are the people who think all Asians look the same, but we don’t. I don’t.

 

What I hear.

 I vividly remember my first realization that I was different.

We were asked to draw our families, a simple task one way or another.

Simple until someone pointed out I was a different color than my mother.

They even went as far to tell me that I was adopted.

I was very confused.

I was a kid who should have been learning his ABC’s,

But instead I was being ostracized due to the fact my parents come from contrasting ethnicities.

 

What I hear.

“If you had to pick one race, which one would you choose?”

No, even better, “You’re not BLACK or you’re not ASIAN enough.”

Oh and don’t forget my nicknames like “half-blood, half-breed, and mutt.”

All of these terms are used to describe what?

That’s right, they’re used to describe animals.

 

What I hear.

Say I’m walking down the street alone at night for some reason.

I’m obviously up to no good.

I’m on the run or I had drugs for sale.

This false assumption is because to a cop, I’m just another delinquent black male.

 

What I hear?

My race can leave some in a state of confusion.

So let me dispel this illusion.

I may be odd to some, but I hope you will remember this poem even though it is dead and gone.

Be careful what you say because you words can kill.

Think and don’t let your ignorance grow stronger because next thing you know, you are being sentenced for verbal manslaughter.

Heed this warning and WAKE UP.

I’ve made myself very clear.

So tell me, do you remember what I hear?