some things
are not ours
though we do
not know they
are not ours

we take them
and examine them
with our hands
and with our hearts
and hold them close

we the takers
do not get to decide
when the wounds of
history are healed enough
for even mindful taking

and those on the other side
who learn to imitate
the masters’ ways
are simply learning
to survive

we are not islands
we are more entangled
than ever before
and we are not without
our contradictions

so with our taking
we take responsibility
to learn the history
of what’s been taken,
and, at times, to let it go.

2 thoughts on “appropriation

  1. This is clever, and I agree – it’s often even harder to deal with our problems once we realise they aren’t even original… but sometimes I take solace in human solidarity, if you know what I mean. Heartbreak is a good example of that – it feels so soothing to remember that nearly everyone has had to endure the same but entirely individual struggle of heartbreak, as you.

    1. Thanks for your take on this. I hadn’t considered this topic in terms of person problems exactly. I wrote it while thinking about cultural appropriation– when certain cultural symbols are used to represent certain ideas, but are detached from their origins.

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