Queen’s Speech

by Briancia Mullings

It was mama who taught me, mi please and mi thank-yous,
And small island who taught I my vowels
Dem a call it colloquial, slang
It’s my tongue
But mi cyant speak like dem no more now

“This is Queen’s speech, England,
Proper way and proper talk.”
De right way, colonised way
Deny your race like issa sport

My “h’s”, my accent
Were indigenous to mi throat
Swallow down hard British water, till your “h’s” begin to float,
Till you ah choke
On the tip of your tongue,
Wid vowels in de gaps of your teeth
Dem a foreign, dem uncivilised
Dem nah talk like ah we

And in only three years
Did dem manage to tame
Mi wild native tongue
Buried in de back of my brain

That jungle like roar, mi speech would pronounce
Hibernates in de fluid of my cerebral doubt
Whitewashed and white drowned
Lungs filled wid invasion
Puffing up my wind box to talk with occasion

Queen’s Speech
Most formal, and most eloquent a pitch.
Buoyant fluid words that escape out just in to fit.
Yet I progress to feel morbidly alone,
England is not all just London, no Queen’s speech fluid tone

To evolve and to adapt to an international tongue.
Just as I struggle wid both
Mi cyant identify just wid one

It was mama who taught mi how to switch on and off at my core
So, mi used to speak wid Vincy dialect
But I can’t speak like that anymore.