hypoThis is the third in a series of five original pieces of creative writing that have emerged from my class, “Introduction to World Literatures in English.”

“hy-poc-ri-sy (noun)”
by Gabrielle Tsui (28 March, 2016)

When election day comes you crack jokes about
when the wrong person rises to power you’ll
leave this city, flee this country,
move to another land.

Even in jest you speak with privilege,
forgetting that in the same
breath you condemn those with
different skin colour than you,
different hair colour than you,
different language than you,
different heart and soul from you;
who clutched on rotting tires rank with desperation and clung
to limp bodies of their young; ran from the mouth of the wolf
that was supposed to be their home
with bracelets belonging to their grandmothers
and ragged t-shirts that don’t fit them quite right; fear
running through their bones and tears diluting their blood,
blood that was splattered on the concrete of their streets,
blood that they smeared on the ground as the skin flakes off their feet;
haunt their dreams.

The wrong person rose to power where they lived and they
left their city, fled their country,
moved to another land which boasted
of freedom and democracy; of comforts and riches;
of protection and progression.
It’s an understatement to say it’s unfortunate
that these freedoms came with conditions;
these freedoms were not free to give;
these freedoms were based off the arbitrary and came
with people saying “stop being lazy”,
“learn some English,”
as if where they come from do not matter
and the timbre of their mother tongue
residing in their soul, speaking
for the stars in their eyes
that shine with hope, do not matter.

Even in jest you are unaware of your privilege,
that you can make these jests at all. Unaware that you were born
from a population that rode on horses, went on ships,
walked on bare feet, to find a new home;
unaware that you are built
on the bones of populations
that came before you:
whose hopes and voices,
gave you your’s.