I heard a poem on YouTube today,
About a woman
Who was put off, rightfully so,
By a white dude.
He talked of her in a way she felt demeaning,
She skewered him
With a strength empowered by the times,
One full of honesty, rage,
And an “in your face” discounting
Of his amorous approach
That was unquestionably a smackdown.
She was appropriate,
Her poem beautifully conceived,
Pointed, direct, and important.
I wish I could be so eloquent,
So free to bash what I see as wrong,
What I feel constraining,
How much I believe in the injustice of so much,
The war on drugs,
The unbalanced reality of mass incarceration,
The danger of shutdown culture,
Yes, by either those on the right or the left,
But I’m not sure I’m allowed to be so appropriate,
So direct, probably because what I’m saying
Is not all that important,
Check that, I’m being told that it is,
That the idea that we all treat each other well
Is something that people should believe in,
That the color of my skin, the origin of my family’s roots,
Or the thickness of my wallet
Does not mean more than how I treat people, right effing now.
So simple of a thought,
The idea that we are all here for a noble purpose,
That we should all be given the respect and appreciation
So deserved, yet as I write, inner voices are telling me to stop,
The ability to trust people outside of my small circle,
Trust, that foundation of family and friendship, of brotherhood and humanity,
So far gone that I worry I’ll be drawn into a controversy,
Into the morass of victimization
A place I think too many fall into
All too easily.
Settle down, white boy,
You don’t know,
You can’t know.
And I don’t, not the way others do,
Not as the poet, whose hurt
At the tongue of ignorance
Nearly brought me to tears
Because she should not have to deal with that.
I can’t know her hurt,
But I can write about how I hurt for her,
How my pain for her
Was inspired by her poem,
Moving me to write another,
Hoping my outrage
At her treatment will not be tamped down.
Because all that isn’t right.