Early To Rise

I take a moment upon rising
to adjust my Whiteness
for the coming day.

Set the beard straight,
suppress irrelevant facets
of my core being, put on
the palest face I have.

I’d turn on 
the television
for background noise
as I fetch coffee
but I’m so damn tired
of Europe and its tropes.
Sick of Thor and Halloween, 
the fat man in the red suit
for equinox 
ritual. Sick of Jesus, 
sick of Karl Marx, sick of
donuts and latte, 
grand theft disguised
as industry, the right way
to walk, the proper way
to talk — 

I have so little of who I am
beyond that,
having been robbed
of most of my Other before birth;

after, found myself pummeled 
with family expectations
and contrary exhortations,
explanations as to why,
in spite of my White body 
and White schooling
and White Messaging,

I’m still Other and
don’t ever
forget it, son, said my dad
who tried not to forget
the little he had left of 
his Other.

Don’t ever
forget it, son, said my mom
who had set herself up
for never quite loving
her Other. 

Don’t ever
forget it, kid, said the members
of the family who couldn’t
forget it either though
they did not quite approve
of Other.

Before the year begins
I take one more moment
in the mirror
and there is all that Whiteness
spilling out of my pores and 
look at that hair and
diabetes and depression and
loveless moving through clients
and taxes and worry and
face it, I’m too near unto death 
to change; maybe it’s time
to just fall all the way into the bleach
since when I strain to hear my Other,

most days all I hear 
are gasps and screams
in a tongue I can’t understand.

They tell me
the source of my Other
met the source of my Whiteness head on
over 500 years ago
and did not win then but 
oh, it survives in me

in spite of Jesus and Thor and Marx
and John Maynard Keynes and 
white sale linens pressed hard over my face,
in spite of 
the Vikings and the chiseled superheroes;
the way they wear their hats;
the way they kill low-key.

No, I say as hard as I can, no, Europe;
no to your culture and your counterculture;
whatever it offers
I don’t want any more of that — 
I am Other. 

Except I’m Whiteness.

Except I am Other.
Except I’m not.

Like petals pulled
in that kids’ game —
love, love not,
embrace, repel;

I bet that game 
of destruction as play
came 
from Europe too.

About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: