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'I Am Not Your Gorilla, I Am Not Your Monkey' by Jhana Marc-Peterkin

Updated: Oct 7, 2021

I am a black or brown child, nothing strange or wild, seated on a bus, no visible fuss, just on my way from school, on a trip to my local pool.


As the passengers move around, I hear an awful sound, a tale so very sad, it almost made me mad. A shameful voice came out, loud and with a shout. I turned to look, and not from any book, the answer came to me, so now I’m telling you; my hope to set you free.


‘Go home. Go home.’

‘No path for you to roam.’

‘Listen, heed this tome.’

‘Your place is in a tree.’

‘Chimps like you not free.’

‘English is the bottom line.’

‘Your membership, decline.’


‘You should be in a cage.’

‘How wise the Bible sage.’

‘In London Zoo you’re true.’

‘Always safe from view.’

‘All of us here, we rage.’

‘African blacks.’

‘Are really rather strange.’

‘Not human kind or whole.’

‘But monkeys with no soul.’

‘They’re the missing link.’

‘Part human, that we think.’

‘A Jones, or Jarrett, Rice.’

‘How well He cast the dice.’

‘Some are mountain gorillas.’

‘Just like those Obamas.’

‘Others lie low, the Williams.’

‘Play tennis for the sport.’

‘Throw them off in court.’


‘Like Margaret Court I say?’

‘How cruel you are to play.’

‘Tell such sorry story tales.’

‘Your facts of mind just fails.’

‘Intelligence jumps, it bails.’

‘You’ll end your life in jails.’


‘He must be a Trump.’

‘So many lies to pump.’

‘Lies awake tonight.’

‘Gives us all a fright.’

‘The twitter bird.’

‘Is really too absurd.’

‘Sings of race, a hymn.’

‘For his fabled team.’


‘Shut up all ape-like fools.’

‘Should never be in schools.’

‘Your brain is far too small.’

‘Your sense of reason not at all.’

‘Low I.Q., it’s true.’

‘I really don’t like you.’

‘Beware the blacks.’

‘All the skills he lacks.’


‘Monkey chants ring out.’

‘Gorilla sounds they spout.’

‘My heart I hear it break.’

‘For all of human sake.’

‘I pull my phone to say.’

‘Look a picture pray.’

‘I find the image true.’

‘And hold it up to view.’

‘You sing your chants so well.’

‘It’s time to break the spell.’

‘We’ll start here at the top.’

‘Move down until we stop.’

‘Right above your head.’

‘All lies we’ll put to bed.’


‘Throw the apes down.’

‘In water till they drown.’

‘Get these monkeys off my back.’

‘The jungle’s call, I do recall.’

‘He wants his primates black.’

‘No whites will take the flack.’


‘Do you see the nose?’

‘Like a garden rose.’

‘I point to make my point.’

‘As graceful as can be.’

‘All your eyes will see.’

‘That’s not how fine mine grows.’

‘It’s broad and big he knows.’

‘This ape’s is not like me, you see?’

‘The monkey’s own.’

‘Is narrow grown.’

‘Today I will be free.’

‘Take my knowledge flee.’


‘Now down to his mouth we go.’

‘All logic sense will flow.’

‘See my lips so big and full?’

‘You brainless fool, a standing stool.’

‘You should have gone to school.’

‘The monkey’s lips are thin.’

‘Your dreadful lies all sin.’

‘Those monkeys drove you nuts.’

‘Made jokes of you the butts.’


‘You need to shut your mouth.’

‘Or we will send you under, south.’

‘Baboons like you not new.’

‘We’ll chase you out.’

‘Of this there is no doubt.’

‘Always on the make.’

‘I’ve had all I can take.’

‘Careful you.’

‘A step too far.’

‘Might leave a senseless scar.’

‘Make you slip from view.’

‘No wiser word is true.’


‘I’m not scared of you.’

‘Of that you can be certain, true.’

‘You’ll rue that Godforsaken day.’

‘All history books, will have their say.’

‘Your ugliness shone through.’

‘But a child so brave, raised your lies in view.’

‘Your emperor’s only clothes.’

‘Now all his threads expose.’


‘The monkey chants, they start again.’

‘But I can’t feel the pain.’

‘I know I’m right.’

‘Their mocking tones take flight.’

‘I switch the picture round.’

‘A monkey’s bottom found.’


‘Here you are! See how flat it is.’

‘A Khoikhoi frieze?’

‘No Baartman, please.’

‘Your mind is a disease.’

‘Decayed by all those lies.’

‘It’s time for your goodbyes.’


‘So finally I’m here.’

‘To talk about your furry hair.’

‘See how straight it is?’

‘Smooth and soft.’

‘Shine so bright, a sight.’

‘Your curls are held aloft.’

‘Yet mine is set, bereft.’

‘In rigid, twisted strands.’

‘A coil so tight, it stands.’

‘But here is where I’m free.’

‘Your monkey apes can be.’

‘But not a part of me.’

‘The relative lies you gave.’

‘Makes of you a bitter slave.’

‘A Gollum knave.’

‘Rot inside your cave.’


‘The monkey chants die down.’

‘Confusion wears a frown.’

‘The crown has fallen far.’

‘So below the precious bar.’

‘As their brain, begins to reason, think.’

‘Wean their hearts off stupid’s stink.’

‘I pray. I say. Without delay.’

‘God help them find their way.’


‘My bus it makes a stop.’

‘I stand and rise on top.’

‘Leave this world behind.’

‘I dream of human kind.’


Copyright © 2018 Jhana Ruth Marc-Peterkin

#NationalPoetryDay

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