Poetry

Summer Bummer, 9 (161.)

Driving down the back roads
of white America,
where every front yard
is fifty yards long
and has at least one horse or cow in it.
It’s hard enough to afford an apartment cat.
Green grass stretches on, and at first it looks greener,
until the walls of these
barely-removed-from-Suburbia
suburban paradises
are revealed as isolation chambers.
This is only fine given the historical moment,
with a pandemic stealthily raging around,
but it is not okay,
has never been okay,
given the white paint that coats every page of our history books
and subtly coerces every suburban white kid
to be wary of people of color.
The overlapping of one historical moment and the next
is uncanny and timely,
hell,
let’s not lie,
it’s not even timely,
we’re centuries late to the right course of action.
Good that it’s happening.
Pity that it took so damn long.
If we really fear those we don’t understand,
then for God’s sake,
talk, ask questions, fucking listen.
I told myself I wouldn’t write any “I” statements this month,
but I have to say it:
I’m white as fuck,
and I’m still trying to move beyond racism.
I talk a mean game, but I
don’t walk so well.
I understand most of the problems on a larger,
more theoretical scale,
but when it comes to individual actions,
I am usually lost and confused.
It’s no excuse.
I can do better, I must do better.
Now stop saying “I” statements, man –
it’s not about you.
One part of a big picture
can still assist in altering the entire meaning.
So we each work to overcome our biases,
we dismantle shitty, oppressive systems,
and we make better futures
for people of color.
No more violence. No more complicity.
This is a protest
in lines not as poetic as I’d like,
but it’s important
to speak the fuck up.

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