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Three Poems On Race
by John Kendall Hawkins
I. Jordan Peele's Most Excellent Get Out!
was on TV streaming its violence
couched in potato chips not shared and dip
storyline goes Mighty Whitey in a new get up
wears Black Man as a suit, at last admiring
his born-with Cool, neat ability to see through
hard times, improv his emotions (doodly-doo),
riffs by the hour on the fatuous white power
structures of our collective doom.
My Black mate tells me what Coltrane means,
chides my bringing up Eastwood's "Bird." Too white.
He stretches his black skin in the mirror,
a maze of colonized cosmology, black
and feeling blue because it's cool; it's cool to be blue;
he stretches, I say, his integumentary apparatus
that has brought him inescapable conclusions
more potent than the dismal disillusionments that
the parasites he hosts barnstorm the territorial blues with,
and wonders will the Singularity fix this problem or
I'm gonna haffa torch that motherfucka, too?
He lays an all-too-willing white girl.
And they have cute kids, mulattos who face off:
Key and Peele funny (but not really).
End up in Jordan's other film Us peeling
off black for white, and whiter --
Boko Haram Darker Shade of Angry Black
to Procol Harem Whiter Shade of Pale, middle class
Obama strutting (see, a Black Man made, now you on you own)
And when climate change comes home to roost
like a sad clown drunk stereotypically devoid of love and insight,
before going off angry storm cloud cumulus (be-bop!)
like the proverbial co*k-a-doodle doo through the raging corn,
Is there any more onion dip?
II. Sick and Tired Blues
I'm sick and tired of race
Tired of wondering what it would be like
to wake each morning with a Black face in a "White" world
knowing that it was a matter of time
before even my best vanilla buds betrayed me with a kiss
rather than endure the martyrdom of a crucified morality
symbolized by the still-burning crosses blazing on trimmed lawns
and a Marxism that never really seems to include them specifically.
I imagine waking and pulling at my face,
as if to say, Get Off Me, terrorized
by my own simple being-in-the-world
feeling a need to justify what needs no justification
uncomfortable in my own skin
needing to go out into the world full of smiles
that say, drink the milkshake,
like the grins at the end of Rosemary's Baby
I'm sick and tired of being white
trying to find a way to apologize for slavery
that has yet to end in the minds of bankers,
educators, politicians, football owners, Trump and Biden
and terrified that that moment may come
when I will slip on a banana peel of insecurity
and show my true colors, terrorized by race
III. White Policy Down Under (Sorry)
Down Under they still beat the snot out of "abos,"
once in a while, in jailhouses, cops with far flung minds,
though that has slowed down some, I hear,
since Kevin Rudd apologized, on behalf of all the whites,
for f*cking with indigenous thisses and thats --
dream time, boomerangs, cask curfews, what-not.
No one "sensible" believes he meant it, they say,
Think of William Hurt in Broadcast News with the onion.
No, they still suffer the same way, hard yakka,
and the Sorry didn't include talk of reparations,
so it's a freebie for forgetting about them again.
An interesting side note is that the US Congress
quietly and unceremoniously apologized to the Injuns
around the same time for injuries caused, et cetera et cetera,
and Obama quietly signed the reso as part of the Defense Bill.
As far as I know, no Injuns were invited to the Apology.
So, no reparations could be discussed.
But back to Down Under, aborigines have disappeared,
and tourists can't go to Uluru anymore because they defecate there,
and now we have the Chinese to worry about due to the Pivot.
I worry that subs in Freo harbor, home of America's Cup.
and the USS Carl Vinson stopover after the bin Laden sea burial bit,
will bring unwanted attention, make Oz a target of supersonic missiles.
I worry that I'll end up on a chain gang building the railroad
of the New Silk Road, a white coolie with a pigtail,
Cool Hand Luke and all shaking it here, boss,
meaning my doodle, behind a bush, making my escape
down Attila's lost highway that flows all the way to BaÄŸdat Caddesi.
If I'm made into an abo, I have it coming, I reckon, fair dinkum,
me whistling Dixie, having burned my bridges, along the River Kwai.