Finding your tongue (For those born and raised in San Francisco)

It is said
That it is
The strongest muscle
In the human body

It has been
Used to hurt, injure, maim
Humiliate and on
Occasion, build

It has caused wars
And disputes, ignited
Love affairs, fanned
The flames of hatred,

Some have used it
To manipulate the
Masses while others have
Used it to enlighten

It is a powerful
Thing, this stained
Curved, twisted, forked
Thick, thin thing that lies in
Our mouth like a springboard
Ready to pounce or inspire or
Light the fire

No wonder there are
Those who want to
Suppress it or cut it out

Some of us go through
Life not knowing that
We have one

And there’s this guy
In San Francisco who
Didn’t know he had

And year after year
Eviction and removal
Have gone by

And the friends of his life
The landscape of his life
The elders of his life
Have disappeared before
His eyes, replaced by

He’s finally found
His tongue

It was in a jar
In the cupboard in
The house where
He grew up

And the guy
Took that jar
And looked at his

A lot had settled
And built up
On it

Hot sauce
Soy sauce
Fish sauce

In a ferment
Of fire

Waiting to
Be found


(c) 2014 Tony Robles


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