Stick Out Your Tongue

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From Apalacian playgrounds
To sunny Italy
‘Mongst citizens of all this world
One single language be

Sufficient to communicate —
Adequate to sing
As any operatic song —
Of every basic thing

Which centrally comprises
Human experience
(From which all sweet refinement
Of sentiment commence)

The language of expression,
Of gesture and of stance,
Revealing every moment
Wisdom or ignorance

The living glance of the inquiring
Intelligent eye
Or, otherwise, that which to shine
Bothers not even try

Of all the ancient gestures
Our expressions among
None is more universal
Than sticking out the tongue

As clear as any sonnet
Insulting in intent
There can be no mistaking
What by this gesture’s meant

And of the tongue-protruders
Which through our hist’ry go
Hawaii and New Zealand have
The most lurid tongues we know

Expertise of historians
We have no need to ask —
Reflected is this prowess
In many a mask

With narrowed eyes beneath a fierce
And grimly threat’ning brow
No doubt of its intention
Doth that carven tongue allow

Hawaii in, these they augment,
As ‘neath their artists’ hands are born,
With teeth the length bananas of
And hardly shorter horn

And in New Zealand, mask and face
Will both present to you
The surreal aspect of
Enveloping tattoo

The origin and source of this
Obscure skill originally
Makes amusing footnote
In human history:

Commonly held belief, the folk
These heav’nly islands of,
Held that even warriors
Strengthened are by love

And, in the balance, weakened,
Assigned a price to pay,
For from that center stance of love
To have pulled away

It seemed to them but common sense
That gods would surely choose
The people who started the war
To be the ones to lose

Therefore, when their two armies
Opposite became
Each sought upon the other one
To place the karmic blame

And so they stood, each in their line,
And rolled the eyes and flared the nose
— Well, you’ve been in a playground,
So you know how it goes!

They’d practiced all their boyhoods long
To stretch their mouths so wide
And waggle heads so tauntingly
From side to side to side

But all of that was nothing,
For when those tongues came out
You’d best write home to mama —
It’s all over but the shout

Somebody would lose their cool
Somebody would throw that punch
One side be exterminated
Likely before lunch…

I know you like your piercing, hon,
From which a fetching bead is hung
But, please recall, there places are
You don’t stick out your tongue!

The poet/editor of this website is physically disabled, and lives at a fraction of her nation’s poverty level. Contributions may be made at:

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Ana Daksina

About the Author: Ana Daksina

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