I will not be a clone
I will not be a Xerox, carbon copy, template, stereotype,
puppet, tool, or drone
I will not be the boy next door, the All-American boy
a model citizen, role model, model plane, or underwear
not that I’ve been asked
I will not be a dapper Dan, a peacock,
arm candy, eye candy, rock candy, cotton candy
I will not melt in your mouth
I will not white lie, black lie, big lie, small lie, lie a lie, lie me
down or down your Kool-Aid

I will not hate for you
I will not fear those who look different
I will not build a wall, lock a door, or shut anyone out
I will not criticize, politicize, or fantasize
I don’t need your vote
and if I have to scare you to get it, I don’t want it
I will not march to your battle drum
And I will not praise those who do

I say what I think and if that offends you, I’m not sorry
I fought for that freedom and it did not come easy
It came hard
and at a steep price
so I will fight and connive
fight and contrive
fight to survive
I have a name
It never was anyone else’s
It will never be anyone else’s


we could still join hands
you and me, right now, despite differences

and find a path
to take us where we need to go