English

I contain headlines.

Man with Arabic flashcards can’t sue agents over airport detention.

Sources told FOX 25 that a flight that was headed to Chicago was brought back to a gate at Logan Airport.

The source said there were two men on that plane — not sitting next to each other — and speaking Arabic.

Moreover, according to Arabic-language and Islamic experts, the ring Obama has been wearing for more than 30 years is adorned with the first part of the Islamic declaration of faith, the Shahada: “There is no god except Allah.”

“If we cannot be proud enough as acountry to sing America the Beautiful in English,“ said former congressman Allen West, “by a company as American as they come — doggone we are on the road to perdition.”

Fox commentator Todd Starnes tweeted: “Coca-Cola is the official soft drink of illegals crossing the border.”

Another angry viewer tweeted: “Nice to see that Coke likes to sing an AMERICAN song in the terrorist’s language.”FACEBOOK GROUPS: This is AMERICA. SpeakENGLISH!!!!!!!!!!! 22,416 likes · 7 talking about this

Why do Starbucks employees correct me when I say I want a size “medium”, like this is America and we speak American.

Speak ENGLISH, they cry. English, English. English.
Why don’t you speak English
No quiero hablar Inglés, motherfucking w*tback.
D*thead. Mujhe aṅgrējī nahi ati hai. Sorry, I don’t speak
English. Fucking t*welhead. Ill*gals.
Lā afham. I don’t understand.

There are those that stand in front of you at 1 AM
who scream at you to go home, so it echoes off the streetlights
and sky while your friend stands in his abāya, your hands
clasped together your collective minds running every memory
of every atrocity, every hate crime
that ever happened to someone who
looked different, remembering that call from the FBI a year ago
saying Miss, he wants to kill you he believes you’re Al-Qaeda
Do you want

a security detail? Miss? Miss?
-on a loop endless as the beautiful desert

There are those less angry
“Uber really has to stop hiring random
immigrants as drivers. The language barrier’s too irritating.”
The language barrier is too irritating.
The language barrier is too irritating.
The language barrier is too irritating

The language barrier is too irritating.
The language barrier is too irritating.

Read long enough, so the words crack and spill.
THIS IS THE IRRITATION
THE IRRITATION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED

When you laugh about an inside joke with your best friend
and you use Arabic words so that no-one will understand
that you mean “Rescue me from this boy,”
La, yalla, miskeena. Come on, no. The poor thing!
-and you turn your head alert as a bird that hears
branches snap and you see the men
their eyes blank as the desert, the look and then the question
the word terrorist, soft, the sibilant s replacing the plosive p
no explosive p! The only explosion will be the bombs you
-spoiler alert: you’re the terrorist-
have already loosed inside their heads! HAHAHAHAAHAHAHAH

If you don’t like it, you can leave. I imagine that spelled out in
the bodies of Native Americans
I imagine it spelled out in a thousand endless drones that speed
across the endless desert like doves, blossoming inside a
wedding tent in Yemen, bursting across the sky in
Pakistan (laʾilāha ʾillāllāh!) so it killed all the guests at a funeral
for a young boy who had been killed by drones a week earlier.
(third world problem!)
Excuse my irony. But why do they hate us?
writ large in the stars and shrapnel
of an endless desert, and I answer,
It is for your freedom

If you don’t like it, you can leave. But I have left! I cry,
I have left again and again, and I see everywhere,
you with your phrasebook
in Delhi, I see you with your tour guide in
Paris, laboriously spelling out Bibliothèque? and the tour
guide replies On vient de tuer le gamin?
I’m sorry, that wasn’t the tour guide, that was a man in
New Mexico saying So we just kill the kid? before he
kills the kid, so that his grandmother will see him before she
too is encased in shrapnel, so that the men cross their hearts
against those they call the terrorists
Excuse my irony. Excuse my French.

There are those less angry
PARA ESPANOL, MARQUE ‘DOS’! says the automated voice
dully, as if she, too, is weary from the years of people shouting
that we don’t need to press a button to speak our God-given
English, our destined English, our Manifest
Destiny, because this is America, god damn it.
This is ‘Merica, they say to me, who you can’t annex
without a struggle. Like Sparta. Like Sparta, we will die defending her
against the cruel Orient. Everything is the Orient
there, where the horizon is rose
and it stretches out before you like infinity

Don’t say grande, don’t say venti
why do I have to say venti instead of tall,
because this is fucking America
not some dune-c**n desert, and all the while
you shout at me to speak English, the language I already know
so well, the language I learned so long ago, along with the four
-one, do, trois, naalu, anju-
languages I learned to count in growing up, because of course
we would learn other languages
because I always knew my country wasn’t the greatest country
in the world (third world problem?)
because I’m not stupid, because I used to be trilingual, because
I could have been a polyglot if I hadn’t stopped reading my
French copy of Madame Bovary
because I stopped practicing, because I regressed back to
bilingual, to fucking lingual because the only thing I speak
is fucking English so give me your hand –
do you want to see a trick?

give me your fucking English
and I promise to speak only fucking English.
I promise to take your English (I promise to never say grande!)
I promise to speak English, to hold it in the palm of my hand,
to wrest it into letters so bold
and so bright they burn the night sky with their
anger and their fire. I PROMISE TO SPEAK!
I promise to speak only English, I promise to leave
my language behind in that desert you imagine, that infinite
desert of rose and quartz. I promise to take your language
and make it my own, I do.
I promise to speak it better than you ever dreamed;
I promise to twist and beat the thin silver words of English
until they turn into silver doves that
will fly endless miles across desert and come home; magnificent

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