Drew Anderson

How To Speak American

Volume 17:4, Fall 2016 
Slam Issue 


So the Donald hath sayeth
that when representing America,
we should speak English.
Well right-o
Bloody O
Let’s speak us some English
Let’s talk about some imperialist colonists
Let’s talk about the mo(u)rning breath behind the gunpowder’s kiss
Let’s get engorged with the words of George the Third
The King’s English
Speak, prithee, English
Sweet, sticky English
Sweet like . . the Sugar Act
Sticky like . . the Stamp Act
Quartering Act
Declaratory Act
Townshend Revenue Act
Then the Intolerable Acts
After you react to the Tea Act
Act like you know
Speak English
Like you be waving the Union Jack
Not knowing Jack about the Union
Honors English
The King’s English
Like Richard the Third
Kill your family to claim the kingdom
Then offer your kingdom for a horse
Because a horse is a horse
Of course, of course
Crikey, old chap, let’s speak some bloody well proper English
But wait, then
Ms. Palin
said we should speak American
Now here’s the thing
America has always been called the melting pot
But if every element in the melting pot has a different melting point
Then how does melting Mexican meld with melting WASP?
The answer?
Segregation sauce
Now speak American with me as we go over the recipe
First, give me that old-time religion
That old-school Uncle Sam grammar and diction
which mispronounces ‘champion’
when you Cassiuses get all Muhammad
and refuse to fight in Vietnam, ya dig?
Let’s speak American
like Uncle Ben,
I mean, Dr. Ben
From Hippocratic to hypocritical
The oppressed so impressed by their oppressor
That they become pressed
To give their best oppressor impression
Do the due diligence
Show me the do’s and don’ts of our didactic dynamics
Drill me on the deleterious designs of our disaster-prone democratic dictatorship
Feed me tasty tidbits of our innocently intended ignorance
with a side order of kinda sorta snide on the sly
plus tax
with interest
Just bust a rhyme for me
Gimme some more
Gimme that
Hooked on phonics
Hooked on ebonics
Hooked on chronic
If you got green, then you clean
If you white, you all right
If you brown, sit down
If you black, get back
I got you all in check
Then when it get good to ya
Gimme some real raw root American
Gimme some Choctaw Chippewa, huh?
Gimme some smallpox in my linen drawer, now
But whatever you do, now
Don’t go speaking no Spanish
I say, don’t go speaking no Spanish
Who do you think you are?
Who taught you how to play Space Invaders in the first place?
Cual es mi nombre?
Don’t go habla-ing no Español
‘Cause that would be un-American
Like King Carlos the Third
And Bernardo de Galvez
And Francisco Saavedra de Sangronis
And the rest of them 18th century Hispanics
In Louisiana
And Havana
And Venezuala
And Nicaragua
You know, our Revolutionary War compadres,
I mean, companions
who helped America become America?
Donde esta la biblioteca?
Y’all must have forgot!
And we due for a reboot
So let us reinstitute
Let us be reintroduced to the righteous rhetoric of our religious racism
Seduced with the symbolic sounded-out syllables
filling in the symphonic synonyms
of our succulent sexism
Reteach me the p’s and q’s
that patronize queens
and provoke quiet suicides
in the pure quintessence
of our patriarchal queerphobia
Let’s speak American
Hip me to the humor of our hubris, homie
Make me laugh
Crack a joke
I mean joker
I mean master
I mean mister
I mean nigger
I mean brother
I mean motherfucker
You see, I never gets too tongue-tied to tongue-kiss my native tongue
I could go corporate or I could go dumb
I could speak king or I could speak slave
I could kick it in venture capitalist and I could damn sure kick it with some minimum wage
So test my steez and see me score
Like it was still four score and seven years ago, hoe
I’m sorry
Was that un-American?
Well how so when the best thing going is still pimping and hoing?
And we still the best at both
See, we the best
All we do is win
Wallow In Negativity
“‘Cause everytime we step up in the building everybody’s hands go up . .
And they stay there . . ”
From George the Third to George Washington
“And they stay there . . ”
From George Bush to George Bush
“And they stay there . . ”
From Geronimo to Guantanamo
“And they stay there . . ”
From Kennedy to Katrina
“And they stay there . . ”
From Boston Massacre to Boston Marathon
“And they stay there . . ”
From Tuskegee to Trayvon
“And they stay there . . ”
From “give me liberty or give me death” to “Gimme the loot, gimme the loot!”
“And they stay there . . ”
From strange fruit to “Hands up, don’t shoot!”…

…And they stay there.

From the Navajo to the Alamo to Sandra Bland to G.I.Joe
From Franklin Roosevelt to Frank Nitty to Frank White
From Fred Hampton to Freddie Gray to Fetty Wap
From the founding fathers to the sons and daughters who can’t find their fathers
From building bridges to building walls
From indentured servants to Japanese internment
From taxation without representation to reparations
From invasion to anti-immigration
From manifest destiny to NIMBY
From the escapists to the elitists
From Tea Party to Tea Party
(But that’s none of my business)
From sea to shining sea
My country, ’tis of thee
A history of hypocrisy
Land of the free built on slavery
World police with the worst police in the world
Xenophobic inclusionist
Tolerant tyrant
Neo-Zionist secretly allied with ISIS
You see, to speak American is to speak with diction
They say even a broken clock is right twice a day
But the second the minute hand catches up to (h)ours,
we change faces and claim that times have changed
To speak American is to wonder out loud
whether you have become Captain America
or Ultron
Never knowing that you’re both
Your wholesome ideas frozen so many years
that you keep coming back
Attempting to avenge your own mistakes through reinvention
Only to destroy the world in the name of saving it
Because you never figured out the difference
So the next time some Sarah Palin
or any masquerading bamma comes claiming
some oversimplified explanation
related to the patriotic purity
of our proudly politically-incorrect potty mouths,
you tell them
Tell them that theirs ain’t the only forked tongues
that keep a beef tip
like if it’s a sweet secret
Tell them how the hate that hate made
could make hate hate hate
Speak American?
America, please
Even your worstest students
Are most certainly fluent
of Americanese.


Drew Anderson (also known lovingly as "Droopy the Broke Baller" and "The Black Weird Al Yankovic") has spent the entire 21st century engaging audiences as a science teacher and performer of hip hop, spoken word, parody and comedy. He recently bridged those worlds through C.R.U.N.K. Academy: an innovative, performing arts based, Common Core compatible arts education integration program. Founder and co-host of Spit Dat, the longest-running open mic in the District of Columbia, Anderson represented DC and Baltimore on the cities' joint slam team at the National Poetry Slam in 2003 and 2004.