On Graduation – A Poem by Kavi Vu

How’s my gown, Mom. I think you should sit down, Mom–
This graduation… is not what you think. I.. I’m not going to medschool after this. N-no, Mom, no. It’s..not that I didn’t get in. Well, Grady is the college of Journalism,
and I– Right. I know, less food on the table,
but so what no cable I’ll live with no regrets, won’t forget
the only thing left stable- Satisfaction. And I’ll be happy-
I know. It all sounds kinda sappy now
but all my life it’s been the same- If a train leaves at 5 traveling at 45,
when will it get here and here and there, and… –Mom, I never cared. I wondered
where you found numbers to multiply because I–
I was mesmerized by the scenes in my mind of red trees and purple skies. And I wondered
Am I a passenger on the train? What am I wearing? And are people staring at me
because they know just like you know — so well
that my tracks will lead no-where or even to hell because i’m writing,
riding on this train? Maybe I was just – trying to ride to you. I’m sorry, Mom, if you feel lied to
Just couldn’t confide in you- what was I to say
besides to lay down the facts that I was throwing your
hopes and dreams for me away Am I just
a disappointment? I don’t know from whom
but I received -and believe that life is for enjoyment
as much as it is about passing all my tests but Mom, success- in its simplest form,
is being satisfied. I’ll go hungry all year- dress myself in filth,
but still write, still fight to feel self-fulfilled. In retrospect,
love how you raised me with intellect and respect
but now you think i’m crazy– absurd– cause I said I love words
but yours still kill me I can hear you now bring me down
with how she’ll be- a lawyer, a doctor
teacher, a proctor- she’s so prim and proper
tell me her life is perfect– fine but her words will never be as correct as
mine. No, not grammar because I write, mom-
but because I’m fucking right, mom. All I have left are these words.. I’m sorry I had to curse
you can think I’m not bright but I’ll still never starve
cause I can eat my words with the light from the moon and the stars
if I had to. On second thought, Nature’s all an English
major’s got so Mom, I’d be glad to. But watch out tell that girl not to try it
cause if she dies, it’s not my fault, I repeat
kinda vulgar but she can get ulcers from what she eats
and also what’s eating her someone should be treating her
wait, mom, isn’t she a doc-tor? Have you ever asked her
if she could fix me? Cause all my life, pre-med
now English instead who does that-
who caused that- Mom, blame it on Coleridge
and blame it on Keats then Eminem and blame it on the streets
My English teachers for all that they taught me-
you’ll be stunned but your son for that journal he got me
I filled it up, you tore it up- I can hear you now,
Kim when did it start and how?? first you’re writin, then you’re rappin,
I don’t know what’s happened to you. —
Acting so distant to me Now you have a poem dissin me
but MOM, if you would just listen to me. And if you could, put aside the tears
Mom, I haven’t been Kim for almost five years. Kim was never me. And she’ll never be. Took my initials– KV
then spelled it out, K-A-V- I. and two years later,
to my surprise found that
Kavi means poet in Hindi. Mom, I can answer your train questions
but they’ll just be trained answers. Like you don’t know
I really don’t know where these tracks will go
but Mom, wouldn’t you like a seat too? …Kavi is dying to meet you.

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