Monday, July 22, 2013

poem of the day 07.22.13


she says i feel like a slave
pushing this old white lady around all day
she keeps telling me that i’m not allowed to sit

there’s a lot of racism in this job
she tells me
but i don’t know why she confides in me that way

i’m a white guy
and we created racism out of cotton and sugar cane

maybe it’s because i spent an hour
helping her with her resume
typing parts of it and having it emailed to her address

so that she doesn’t have to feel like a slave
pushing angry old white ladies around

maybe most of us really do want to be color blind

and in the bar
where i’m trying to kill an hour after work
this old whore
keeps shouting at the television news, saying

i’m so fucking sick of all of these riots and rallies
that occupy business
and this trayvon martin bullshit
like they’re doing it outside her front door

so i kill my pint and leave
hedge my bets on the bar up the street

but outside there are two black women
in florescent spandex
i’d seen them on my way inside

they’re collecting donations
for latoya jackson
no relation they smile and say to the cautious

a little girl whose only dream in life
is to be healthy enough
to see the ocean at coney island

although i don’t know why
little latoya would want to

because coney island is full of fat russian women in bikinis
and guys like me
staring at the asses on fifteen year-old girls

but who am i to argue with a sick kid?

only now the two ladies are standing across third avenue
one of them has her hands over her mouth
and the other is yelling at a group of valet parking attendants
huddled under the awning
of a restaurant too expensive for most of us to sniff

a group of good old brooklyn white boys
smirking and smoking away another lazy summer

while she shouts
i can call myself a nigger whenever i want
i have that right
what right do you have to do it?

but the boys answer her
by flicking their smokes and laughing

they know their rights like the back
of their soft hands

and at the next bar i enter
they are doing the same trick as in the last
screaming at the television
telling the crying visage of trayvon martin’s mother
to go the fuck back to florida

they might as well be wishing her
back into the fiery pits of hell

and when the president comes on
he says, thirty-five years ago that could’ve been me

well, with all due respect, mr. president
that shit didn’t happen thirty-five years ago
it happened last year

hell, it happened five minutes ago
but thanks for trying

still, i grab my new pint

thinking thirty years ago
ronald reagan said

it’s morning in america again

but then he deregulated everything
and with bill clinton’s help they finally buried the poor
and crushed the middle class

on a super bowl commercial
clint eastwood said that it was halftime in america

but all i can think
sitting in my second bar
and bracing myself for a new round of hate
as the news switches from trayvon to the economy

is fuck you
clint eastwood
go talk to another chair down in tampa

because it’s third and long
the fourth quarter with under two minutes on the clock

a hail mary from coast to coast

and detroit is as bankrupt as a politician
sitting in a sunday pew at church

the hate keeps spewing
while the bankers continue to run off with the bounty

and all i hope is that little latoya
has another destination in mind

because it’s sundown in america
only everyone is still acting like they’re at the beach.


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