Racism

If I am to describe racism,
as I feel I must,
I choose not to give it beastly form.
It is not Cerberus or the Lernaean Hydra-
though I do appreciate the imagery-
something ghastly that,
after decapitating one head you
may yet be devoured by the others.

No.

It is far far far more human than that.

A screeching pterodactyl does not
pull a white child away from a black one
while they are playing together in a park.

A snarling wolf does not clutch
its purse more tightly if
a black man is walking behind it
on the street at night.

A fiery demon does not become
indignant at your suffering,
interjecting that they too
have suffered.

No.

It is far far far more human than that.

It is the quiet Vivaldi that
blacks have been whistling
ever so softly.
But now their lips are cracked and bleeding
now this country is cracked and bleeding
and the hip hop reverberates
into the Vivaldi
while anger reverberates in streets
while justice seems to be
peculiarly silent
while white people seem to be
peculiarly silent
as if race is an uncomfortable unspeaking at the dinner table that is better left untouched
until your stomach feels so sick at the silence
-that disgustingly stiflingly quiet silence-
that you feel the bass in your spine
you feel the rhymes ignite your nerves
and you let the anger flip that table
you shatter the silence
and you say
there is a multi-headed beast
it’s head is on these shoulders
on your shoulders
on his shoulders
and we cannot cut off all our heads,
no more than we can keep them bowed.

And they just stare at you.

And ask “why would you flip the table?”
Why can’t you sit down
at the hushed Vivaldi table
and tell us what is wrong
as eloquently
as whitely
as you can.