VPR Header
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Homegoings #5: Rajnii Eddins (Transcript)

Scroll down for a full episode transcript, as well as the text of the three poems featured in the episode:

  • “Beautiful Sun Kissed People”
  • “Cup of Joe”
  • “Charleena Lyles and Her Daughters Will Turn Into Wolves...”

Listen to the full episode here.

poem sun flower graphics.png


Note: Our show is produced for the ear. We recommend listening to the audio if you can! Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers. They may contain errors, so please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print. Some parts have been edited for clarity.
Heads up: This episode contains profanity and derogatory slurs.

Rajnii Eddins: When I turned 11, I found out my initials spelled rage, and I was thrilled. I was like, “Wow, RAGE: Rajnii Alexander Gibson Eddins.” Now I've gotten older, and I see even more relevance to that. It's like I'm able to harness this rage and put it into a space where it doesn't make me sick, but I can still, like, raise the dead.

Jane Lindholm: Rage, embodied, appears a lot more mild mannered than you might expect: a 40-something-year-old man with a salt-and pepper beard, big square-rimmed glasses, a faded black “No Justice, No Peace” hoodie, and a winter hat with one of those flashlights already attached to it.

Rajnii: Oh, yeah, yeah, my mom got me this. So I’ve been keeping it close as the weather changes. [laughs] I can navigate the darkness. [Laughs]

Jane: Navigating the darkness — metaphorically speaking — and trying to illuminate it, is Rajnii’s life’s work. He describes himself as a…

Rajnii: … as a poet, as an artist, as an emcee, as an educator, facilitator, organizer.

Jane: When you listen to Rajnii talk, he’s full of optimism and empathy. He’s calm. Doesn’t want to be drawn into anger. So where does he live up to his initials?

In his poems.

(A snippet from “Cup of Joe.” Full poem below.)

(Homegoings theme)

Myra Flynn: That was Rajnii Eddins reading his poetry for Jane Lindholm. And this is Homegoings, from Brave Little State. I’m Myra Flynn. You might remember this series from last spring. Around the time of the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, BLS agreed that elevating Black voices, stories and experiences seemed most important. So we began sharing intimate conversations with Vermont musicians of color, and ended each episode taking a deep listen to one of their songs.

We made four episodes in that original series. And then we moved on. But something about ending it didn’t feel quite right. What about all the other times when we are just here? Being? Not reeling directly from a national murder, or put so severely under the spotlight of reckoning shortly thereafter? I say “us” because I’m Black… and I have to imagine, Vermont still wants to hear from us, right?

But if this racial reckoning needs to involve more than just BIPOC, so does this series. I told the VPR newsroom that I felt the ultimate success of Homegoings would show when a white reporter decided to try on an episode and kind of allow me to pass the baton to them. And Jane said… yes. Thanks, Jane.

So today, Jane Lindholm talks to Rajnii Eddins. And consider yourself warned: some of the language in Rajnii’s poetry is not for the faint of heart.

(sponsor break)

Jane: Myra, it is with some fear and immense appreciation that I pick up this Homegoings baton. I agree -- this kind of conversation needs to continue. We need to hear the voices of artists of color all the time, not just when national news forces microphones into BIPOC faces. And white people HAVE to be listening to and having conversations about race, racism, creativity, and your four pillars: rage, joy, grief and healing, too.

Myra: I agree, Jane. You said fear — why did you fear this assignment?

Jane: Well, Myra, you were infused into every beat of those first four episodes. You are a woman of color in Vermont AND you’re a musician. I am neither of those things!

Myra: That’s alright. I don’t think you need to be either of those things to do this work, to show up as an ally, to want to just be part of these intimate conversations with folks of color. It can also kind of be tough when you’re the person of color always having to have those conversations. So this actually I think is a beautiful thing and I’m just so happy you’re here.

Jane: Aw, thanks Myra. I’m really glad to be here too.

Myra: So let’s get into this episode, Jane. Tell us a little bit about who we’re hearing from today.

Jane: Well, we’re switching things up, Myra. Rather than talk to a musician, we’re talking with spoken-word artist Rajnii Eddins. Or, as we heard earlier: Rajnii Alexander Gibson Eddins: Initials? RAGE.

(A snippet from “Cup of Joe.” Full poem below.)

Jane: As you can hear, Rajnii’s rage isn’t simmering in his poetry, it’s boiling over.

Now, his poetry is very clear and direct. There’s no missing the message. But when Rajnii talks you have to sort of swim through his sentences. You can start to feel… a little adrift.

Rajnii: I had to figure out how to navigate those experiences in a way that I could alchemize them into greater fruit in my art. And this as a way of personal catharsis for me and as a way to utilize teachable moments for people in general and and community.

Jane: Sometimes you have to play back his last phrase in your head, rolling over each word more slowly to figure out how it connected to the previous one, and exactly what they all meant put together. And then you have to hurry to catch up with what you missed while you were thinking… and he was still talking. He’s lyrical, prosaic, magniloquent at times. He doesn’t just write poems: Rajnii is a poem.

I guess it makes sense that Rajnii’s rage and joy and everything else are sort of blended together when he talks. Because that’s also how he lives. And isn’t that how we’ve all been living over the past few years — negotiating rage and joy as we deal with COVID, election cycles, Supreme Court hearings and cases, climate change negotiations, and, oh yeah, that giant racial reckoning? And isn’t that what activists often try to do anyway — find the optimism, the light at the end of the tunnel, while also fighting tremendous negative forces? Finding that light is crucial: if there’s no joy NOW and no sign of joy at the END of that struggle, what’s the point?

So Rajnii elevates and fights, RAGES and hugs.

It must be exhausting.

As we sit down to talk, over Zoom, in early December, he’s at his home on Willard Street in Burlington, “surrounded by plants and traffic,” as he puts it, in a home he shares with his mother.

Jane: You and your mom have a really close bond, don't you?

Rajnii: Always have. Definitely. I was her only “belly son” that she had. She was a foster parent for over 70 children. And the founder of the Afrikan-American Writers Alliance. So she's worn a lot of hats and definitely some crucial exemplifying of heroism and community building when I was young.

Jane: What does it look like when your mom wants to put you in your place?

Rajnii: You know, she might say my middle name. “Xander!” Mmm, okay, this is different. This is another echelon! [laughs]

Jane: Uh huh. [laughs]

Jane: Rajnii grew up with his mom on the West Coast, mostly in Seattle, Washington. By the age of 11, he was performing as part of the Writers Alliance his mother started. He moved to Vermont more than a decade ago now. For a while he worked in the Burlington school system. And now he works independently, focused on art and activism.

Jane: Do you identify as a Vermonter?

Rajnii: Ahhhh, not quite. You know, I feel like there's this kind of lay of the land with Vermont, where even the people who have been here for a number of years are still considered like the flatlanders, or some people who are outside, unless you have like multiple generations in the community, or, you know, go back to Ethan Allen status. But I, you know, my daughter was born here. So I do have ties here and to have connections in the community.

Jane: It’s probably also a little complicated to want to call yourself a Vermonter when you’ve dealt with what Rajnii has experienced.

Rajnii: Oh, well I dealt with a lot of racism and attempts to harm me or my family or my reputation. I think in partial response as a way of addressing the insecurity of people speaking candidly about race, of maybe an unspoken expectation that Black people, Indigenous people, people of the global majority should subscribe to this kind of unwritten social contract in terms of making sure that to make white people feel comfortable and to not necessarily reveal our experiences, or as candidly. Some people are uncomfortable with acknowledging that that reality exists alongside their own reality. So I think because I do remain candid in my art, and in my honesty, and just general dialogue, I think that had taken some folks aback so as a result, I received some less than humane treatment.

Jane: Do you think the inhumanity directed at you and the racism is because you're speaking out? Or just because you're dark-skinned in a white-skinned state?

Rajnii: Yeah, there can be a cost to pay associated with being candid about your experience, people tend to be a lot more comfortable if you just say, “Yeah, I love Vermont. You know, it's a beautiful place.” And, you know, let’s just leave it at that.

Jane: In 2019, Rajnii left his job as a paraeducator in the Burlington school system. Since then he’s been working on finding ways for his art and activism to sustain him both spiritually and financially.

Rajnii: I mean, when you can choose to do what you love and and you don't have to clock in. You know, you don't have to say okay, I need to be here by this time because I have to complete this certain item for this employer. You know, it's just, I mean, it's a really liberating feeling. You know, I will say that not all of [the] experiences of Black people are traumatic, you know, we have to focus on the beauty, the joy, the full range of human emotion and experience for Black people. And there's ways that that's done just amongst ourselves as human beings in ways that that's done in different spaces and ways and community.

Jane: Did you hear that pivot, right there? We’re talking about racism, and him leaving his job, and then, right in the middle, he turns to that statement about trauma — and the potential voyeuristic quality of a white reporter focusing on the Black experience.

Before I called up Rajnii, I had been thinking about that. Myra framed those first four episodes of Homegoings with the idea of four pillars of Black experience: rage, grief, joy and healing.

And I want to do the same in my conversation with Rajnii: not just focus on trauma, but also not NOT focus on trauma! I want to explore how interwoven all those feelings of grief, joy, healing and rage are.

But it’s different for a white reporter to ask those questions of a Black artist than it is for a Black artist to ask another Black artist. There’s a shared experience in the latter, and a potential for mistrust in the former.

So it's interesting to hear Rajnii talk about joy and liberation and then, almost as if it’s in response to a question I didn’t ask… but one that’s hanging in the air… remind me that not all experiences of Black people are traumatic.

But then again, it’s at this point he brings up his book, Their Names Are Mine. Self-published in 2019, he uses the word “irate” to describe its tone.

Rajnii: to intentionally provoke an emotional response, to sensitize people to the inhumanity that Black people have been experiencing, since the advent of this country, and in different forms throughout the world.

Jane: I ask Rajnii to share a poem from Their Names Are Mine. And together we choose one called Charleena Lyles and Her Daughters Will Turn Into Wolves. Charleena Lyles was a mother of four who lived in Seattle, where Rajnii grew up. In 2017, she was pregnant, subjected to domestic violence, and struggling with mental illness when she called police to report a burglary at her home. Upon responding, they shot and killed her.

In early December, the city of Seattle settled a wrongful death suit brought by her relatives. The city will have to pay more than 3 million dollars and dismiss the two initial responding officers.

Rajnii: I think it's it just illustrates, you know, America is still the same practitioner of violence. So I use this piece just to speak more candidly to the need to have a an extreme radicalization in terms of humanizing people, in particularly, white people, people of European descent, who are so often taught consciously and subconsciously, to assume their inherent superiority as human beings due to the tremendous dissemination of information in literature and media that reflects them as some type of human ideal.

Jane: “An extreme radicalization in terms of humanizing people.” Part of that radical humanizing means hitting you in the face with the words. Heads up: this poem contains derogatory slurs.

Rajnii: This is called “Charleena Lyles and her Daughters Will Turn Into Wolves.”

(A snippet from “Charleena Lyles and her Daughters Will Turn Into Wolves…" Full poem below)

Jane: That poem. It just vibrates. It HOWLS. It hurts. It is full of such power. But there is also a sharp-toothed joy in reclaiming a sense of self, in eviscerating the monsters who took that sense of self in the first place.

Many of Rajnii’s poems in Their Names Are Mine quiver with the same energy. More powerful words from Rajnii, when we come back.

(sponsor break)

Jane: Welcome back to Homegoings, a series from Brave Little State where we talk with artists of color, and take a deep listen to a piece of their work. I’m Jane Lindholm, and today we are chatting with poet Rajnii Eddins, of Burlington.

Rajnii says of himself that he moves through the world with courageous vulnerability. But when I ask him about that, it seems like he’s still careful to protect himself.

Rajnii: I try to find ways daily to address my own self care and, and balance and sustenance in terms of nourishing my mind and nourishing my spirit. So when I leave my house, I'm already in a space. So if anything changes, I'm just brought down to the ground level, not subterranean.

Jane: I don’t know, maybe the way to avoid feeling psychically damaged is to keep that courageous vulnerability covered by psychological armor.

Rajnii: The wisdom in recognizing who you're dealing with can be an inoculating force. Like I wasn't raised here, so I, I can't be psychically damaged by this place. Because I was already secure before I came here. So more so for me, I think that when I encounter folks who are receptive, I take it with a grain of salt, and I'd say, okay, see this planet, you're welcome to attend. My thing is to be consistently open and generative and welcoming to bring more folks into the fold. And people who just often reject it, well, they miss out on an opportunity.

Jane: That “live and let live” kind of sentiment, the idea that if you aren’t receptive to the message, “that’s okay,” seems so at odds with the vehemence of Rajnii’s poetry. But in speaking, he is adamant that empathy and calling in are the way forward.

I’ve come to picture Rajnii as the center of a tug of war. Or, like, the referee trying to break up a fight. He tries to straddle the middle, to bring white people closer to reality while protecting Black people from harm. But being in the middle isn’t neutral--and you’re just as likely, maybe more likely, to get punched when the fists start to fly.

So Rajnii tries to arm himself, while also being vulnerable. He expresses joy while also feeling rage. So many feelings moving underneath his smooth verbal surface. And when you try to pull on one thread, Rajnii bristles--because it’s never as simple as pure rage, pure joy, pure healing. It’s complicated. HE’S complicated.

Rajnii: As Black people in America, we can often become typecast and say, Oh, that, what type of poet are you? Oh, you’re the type of poet that does THAT type of poetry. Or your poetry, you do Black poetry, as if words have different colors or something, but it's like, no, it's all expression. And, you know, I don't really disconnect me being a poet from or me being a Black poet, from me being an artist, from me being a black artist, and being a black man, or like, all those things are intersectional. And I don't have to divide them up to to play one at a time.

Jane: That’s the multifaceted and challenging and joyful and utterly exhausting experience of being Black in America. I mean...not that I can speak from experience, but if Rajnii’s right, we all have to find that radical vulnerability, radical humanization, radical empathy. So that’s where I’m trying to speak from.

But we can’t just end there. What about that complicated and complex joy? Remember? The light at the end of the tunnel?

Rajnii’s working on a new collection, and it’s different from his first book.

Rajnii: As far as tone and subject matter. It has a more expansive approach. So I speak to, you know, childhood, I speak to, particularly the conversation between Black people, loving themselves and loving each other. I speak to magic and things that haunt people; I speak to nature.

Jane: And in this new collection, Rajnii’s not playing to a white audience. I mean, white folks are welcome to listen! But it’s like this: those four pillars: rage, joy, grief and healing (and maybe a fifth, as Rajnii says faith is another pillar for him), they make the frame of Rajnii's metaphorical house. And everyone is welcome to come inside…

Rajnii: But of course there's some people who already have access to the inner rooms because they've been there before. [laughs] So for those of us who can go upstairs, come on up and everybody else, enjoy the house. [laughs]

Jane: So, settle in. Here’s Rajnii Eddins with Beautiful Sun Kissed People, and a soundtrack by Myra Flynn.

(Rajnii performs “Beautiful Sun Kissed People” — full poem below, or click here to listen)


poem sun flower graphics.png

Beautiful Sun Kissed People

Walking miracles
Unfolding parables
Ancient scrolls
In ocean's throes

LOVE be a rose
Adorning your ears

This morning
will not bring mourning

nor a thorn in tears

This forever moment is shorn of fears

Beautiful Sun Kissed People

We are on the cusp of overthrowing overseers

Light years beyond
Heckles and jeers

No more tanning our hides while Dr. Jekyll steers

This love is sheer transparent and near

As Dear as your closest relative here

Beautiful Sun Kissed People

No conversation on us being equal

Just entertaining the thought is evil

We weave full

Fully woven

Lost and found
traded and stolen

But look what the Eye beholding

Beautiful Sun Kissed People


Black and Free and Ebony

Mahogany and mocha be

Chocolate Häagen-Dazs can't see

Rivers running melanin

Shallow men be monitoring

But Most High got it all intents
and purposes and sovereign skin

Watch as this here poem ascends

Journeying and frolicking

Summer breeze is talking with the autumn wind

How winter just won't break our stride

Too much Spring in step for us to hide

Our victory is justified

Beautiful Sun Kissed People

Solarized with older ties

Our currency ain't tokenized

We close to those focused and wise
Whose feet arise on open skies

We white supremacy eulogizing

Blessed ministry new horizon

And desperate attempts
at euphemizing
our brilliance with futile lies

still will never neutralize

too many youth been euthanized

Fed sweet as prey
to tooth decay

But truthfully
Our rootful way
has truth to say

Adorns the night
salutes the day

In beauty that the stars obey

Beautiful Sun Kissed People

I relate to you so musically

And oh the joy it brings

Like Lift every voice and sing ...

Let earth and heaven ring
In sacred oath

Cause after all we are betrothed

To wondrous wonders of untold
great grand good fortune that broke the mold

Can't buy us off with moldy bread

We've more than crumbs inside our heads

And crust just will not satisfy

When banquets alone
are ours divine

We walking gourmet grandma made

Deliciousness in every shade

Sun Kissed People

Beautiful Blessed Bountiful Sun Kissed People

I praise a path
that plants our flag

Squarely in earth
of self made basking

A glorious new found approach

that predators can not encroach

that parasites and wayward folks

At a mere glimpse will cough and choke

See this radiance
is brighter still

Than every sun
that lights a hill

It calls from something deep within

And pours from vocal cords and pen

Beautiful Sun Kissed People

I'm nourished
just to see you

You furnish my living room

With life abundant killing gloom

You water
every plant I have

and flourish my gardens green and vast

Sing lullabies
to my inner child

And soothe all fears
of foul defile

You spray me
with your scents of grace

And lovingly
embrace my face

Say I am you
And we are race

That founded
every human trace

Sun Kissed People

I wake with your poems
on my tongue

In my chest
I hear your drum
From my lips I hear your hum

It gets me High
and drunk as rum

On you I am
forever spun

Your melanin
I'll never shun

With you I am
forever one

Has there been better
never one

Sun Kissed People

I bequeath
these odes to you

your next of kin
and children too

And their children's children's children's view

Will yet still match
your vibrant hue

You supernatural sorcery

To walk in temples gorgeously

Shaming cathedrals far and near

Make a white christ pale in the mirror

Sun Kissed Children
you are it

Don't let nobody tell you s***

Unless they fertilizing soil

to grow a rose regal and royal

To don a rose upon a rose

Of red and black and green and gold

So poetically bestowed

It dignifies your inner throne

Sun Kissed Children marvelous

Miraculous magnificence

so unabashed

Unapologetic sass

Ultramagnetic Blackness

They'll write Goddess
on your epitaph

That's blasphemy
surely right

Cause we know true gods never die

Sun Kissed Children
you kiss my eyes

With all that sunshine
you applying

I say I am in love for true

Cause you are me
and I am you

From head to toe
all between

I love these Princes
Kings and Queens

I even find you in my dreams

And when I wake
I vow to breathe

And breathe to vow

With every vowel
and consonant
I can pronounce

Announce to cosmos all your feats

build castles for your sweet retreats

Goose feathered pillows

Black satin sheets

A sacred lounge
to rest your crown

from all them wounds
been crying out

Sun Kissed People
have no doubt

You're all I am
what I'm about

Can't tell my story without your page

Every chapter'd be erased

You sew my lines so seamlessly

We vibe on higher frequency

So let's not love in secrecy

My Sun Kissed People
you bes the Key

poem sun flower graphics.png

Cup Of Joe

These people come from low-income housing
Under privileged and uneducated
In dysfunctional surroundings
Such as these
Many times their hygiene suffers

(channel change)

These n*****s is dirty
Downright vile and mean
And stupid as a block of wood

(channel change)

Would? I wish a peckerwood
Would come down my block
I’d pop ‘em with a glock
For stomping where he should not have been
And cut off his oxygen

(channel change)

Now, now Miss Brown
Please calm down
Let’s not become irrational
Look at me when I’m talking to you
Let’s not turn this
Into a race issue

(channel change)

White people having grown up in white families Have experienced all forms of racial bias
Prejudice and inequality
Qualifying them to address oppressed peoples
With the utmost sensitivity

(channel change)

Besides they ain’t fit to raise their own kids
Black people are whiners
Everybody knows
Jews are the most persecuted people in history

(channel change)

All I need to do is apply cocoa butter
To the young Negro’s scalp
For about 3-500yrs or so
Or until naps lay straight
And the culture abates
And the ass-whippin takes

(channel change)

Her hair is sooo fun
Wavy curly nappy
Wavy curly nappy
Wavy curly nappy

Straight up now tell me
Do you really want love to eat for breakfast
Oh, oh, oh
Maaan Paula Abdul is fine as hell
Oh you just like her cause she’s light-skinneded

(channel change)
Well they skinned that n****r alive
That’ll teach him to look at a white girl

(channel change)

The suspect is black
In his mid-life to early living
If you see this man please do not hesitate
To avoid or avert eye-contact
At all cost
Clutch your purse
And or pocketbook
And cross the street
We repeat
This man is armed
With consciousness
He may appear as a…

(channel change)

If alerted to the said existence
Of racism i.e. white privilege
One may experience
Insidiously interwoven
With the said topic of discussion
Do not panic however

Breathe, breathe

You may very well want to cry
Or scream
Or yell out
I say do it
Yell out as loud as you can

I’m a good white person!!!

(channel change)

It doesn’t exist!

(channel change)

I don’t see color…
I see shapes and triangles and parallelograms
(channel change)

I watch BET
I’m not a racist

When this vile culprit tries to put you up on game
That due to the nature of racism
In and of itself
Being a system of racial subjugation
Against non-whites in every area of human relation
Entertainment, education, labor, politics
Law, religion, sex

War, war, war,
And economics

Culminating in the mass dispossession
And genocide of the indigenous natives
That founded this nation
Using this definition as a basis
If you got white skin and whatnot
Then you profit from the psycho-social construct
Struck, Struck
I struck a match in the dark
Walked up the block and the door was locked
And I ain’t got no key
I ain’t got no key
Can’t jangle the lock open
To feel myself freely
Free myself
To feel
Every time I get close
To a lock broke
I get whitewash flooded with guilt
Then I stop janglin’ the lock
Then the whispers come

Words like white like black
Except when followed by in harmony

Thereby remain acceptable
In appearance and character
In manner and demeanor

Everybody knows a well-mannered Blackman
As named by white people
Is a Negro

But as I said before
I can’t find the space
To breathe comfortably in my soul lately

I’ve got too many people in my head
I’ve got black and white motherf*****s
In my head
To contend with
And every time I sing my pain
I feel like I’m dancing

Like the rushing currents and streams
Running blood and tears
Done got white folks shoes tapping
Like some snappy-schnazzy elevator music

Hip tunes to cruise to huh
Hip-hop tunes to cruise to

Music to live by

Music to die by

Music to drive by

I see them bobbing their heads
Off beat

Exchanging PC convo on the cosmos
And indigenous peoples at large
Over lattes…

“Damn Shame
What Happened To Them Colored Folk…
This Is A Damn Fine Cup of Joe

poem sun flower graphics.png

...Charleena Lyles and her daughters will turn into wolves

...Charleena Lyles and her daughters
Will turn into wolves
The moon will howl back
And the sun
Will be your undoing

Emmett Till will come back
As Elephant Man
He will whistle
At white women
In broad daylight

And no harm will come to him

Sandra Bland will stand around your bed
Staring hungrily
Her gaze will change your heart to stone
Or if already stone
Then the rest of you

Jordan Davis will return
You will meet him
In the gas station parking lot in your dreams
He will have just purchased
Cigarettes and a pack of gum

And oh yes his music will be playing very loudly

Yes it appears we are monsters
Demons with terrible resilience
And incredible strength

We are coming for your children

No handcuffs, Tasers
Or futuristic weaponry will thwart your doom

We are Rock and Roll RnB Hip-Hop gyrating colorfully
Through your black and white TV screens

It's too late
Michael Jackson already made Thriller

The wretched Negro demon rapists
Are dancing with your daughters
We have already soiled the White House
It's brown now
Like the earth our clawed hands clambered out of

We have the dark dignified audacity
To breathe the white man's air

To look a white lady right in the eye

To not stand for the hypocritical bulls***
Of white supremacy

Yes the monsters are loose
We are claiming our lives matter
More than just on Halloween

The next time you wear a Native American costume
You will be scalped and hung
By the flag you hold so dear
The next time you wear black face
Tap-dancing in layers of burnt cork and grease
To mock our monstrous plight
It will become permanent
And none
Of your lily white loved ones
Will recognize you

You will be burned at the stake
Like only a true n****r
Or a f****t could be

You will taste
The human tears
The blood behind
These razor sharp teeth

And suddenly
The world will morph

And you will truly see
The monsters at the dinner table
In your classroom
And right beside you
As you lay down to sleep

Their red glowing eyes will surround you
For knowing
For simply knowing
That we are
And have always been