words

Growing up I was taught in church
that cursing was unacceptable
so I learned to say
Oh shoot
as an alternate exclamation,
despite that shooting
has much more
potential for destruction
than normal bodily functions.

I also wasn’t allowed
to tell anyone to
Shut up
regardless how harmful their words,
but I learned it was acceptable
to tell people
they were going to go to hell
if they didn’t believe
what I was told
were the right things to believe.

Words
restricted,
replaced,
reformed according to
one set of views with
no room to question external authority
no room to explore,
no room to delve deep to see if there was
ground elsewhere for me to stand on,
grow in, find my footing–
use my own words,
even if they’re shit.

Imposed upon,
recruited into someone else’s army,
fighting someone else’s fight,
when all I needed was
to be left alone long enough
to escape their battle hunger,
to leave their war behind and
find a home in the spaciousness
of belonging to myself.

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