When words were never mine to begin with. I was only their carrier upon transport- both serving time together- holding some- mere milliseconds- while others cellmates serving a life sentence. Each letter and word- wound within my dna- and- transcribed by my process of knowing- has arrived from the hands of someone else.
Who am I to say- I own these words?
Yes- they may empower- even set you free- but to own them- is to put them in a zoo. To cut out their lungs- give them hugs for legs- and tell them to run- then send them on their way to have a nice life- and a breath of fresh air- from the inside- out.
If I copyright words- Van Gogh copyrights Starry Nights- Aristotle copyrights thought- Harper Lee and Maya Angelou know why the caged mockingbird can’t sing- if their teachers own all the words. Does Shakespeare care if Hamlet is performed at the Globe – a renowned performing arts high school in New York- or the streets of El Salvador? Or is it about sharing in our words- living through his words- copy what was- homage to the author.
What if my thought- was first a song lyric written on the back of a napkin- tossed aside- blurred- by someone who was playing the drinking game. Was my thought already prefabricated- plain as day- in the light of moon- beyond the wonder of a five year old Nigerian girl. Or in the dreams of an addict to spun to remember what was said- when morning is four days later- and still hasn’t come. Maybe it was the taxi driver in Karachi who first said, “poets can be any color- they just want to be read…” way before it entered my head. He just didn’t have access to a pen- or- when he got home- had trouble remembering again.
Maybe this was all confiscated- stolen- copy unwritten- from a man who has ALS. Everyone baby talks- the man- like a toddler- and pats him on the head. Like sticking a finger in the soup to see if it is warm. Somewhere he is reading my words- his words- unspoken- on a screen- screaming so loud. But no one gives a fuck- because they think he doesn’t have words. These are my copyrighted- hijacked- borrowed from another source- all the source- is the same source- words- just a different kind of sauce.
Understanding- I only carry these words- all thoughts that have been conjured- inflicted- and finely tuned- have come from the fingers- tongues- brushstrokes- madness of others. Screamed in splinters- whispered in born against- washed into the sand’s stone- are all words- for consideration.
My search in writing- is for a comfort- for the words- and the people to be as free as possible. Knowing- nothing is free- especially as a Dad- to three- all girls.
What about the tree- when were they going to see a royalty- for all the copies they have written?
Like a tree roots in- I am rooted in my children. For them- and my family- I have to remain a true artist- a true contradiction- like any human- that varies on a multitude of spectrums. To a take stand- show my copy rights as author and carrier of words- would only be for them- so their walk is a little lighter.
Their Father’s hands which have borne the scars and marked calluses of time- that comes when the sun shines so bright in life- you have to squint- and trust that you’re walking- but- not off the edge- because you can still feel the sun radiating through your face- and trust can be easier- when you can’t see in the first place.
I will chase- these words all copied from the same source- just a different sauce- tasting- and holding on to what I can- understanding what was already written…
This is a post written by Anthony in his blog “Symbols between Spacebars” under the title “Do I have a right to copyright words- call them mine?“