Racism is Nothing New: A Poem

You see, I don’t care what color your skin is but if you start thinking that your color is better than the rest I will give you a coloring book and send you to the kid’s table.
Let’s see how well you color your earth with only one tone.
Let’s see how gorgeous your future is when it is only in black and white.
Let’s see how long it takes before all your pictures look the same, how long it takes before you stop coloring out of boredom.
Because if the world was only made of black or white, what color would our sunsets be?
What color would a moonlit path through an autumn forest be?
What color would we bleed?
Because on the inside, we all look exactly the same.
What color would we be when our skin has long since dried up?
What color would our tears be as we wept, not only for the people we traded in for crayons  but for the beauty we never saw.
If we are so obsessed with our skin colors, how are the white and black crayons the least used in the box?
Why weren’t humans colored anything from purple pizzazz to firetruck red with marigold shading?
You see, we are not the color of our skin; we are instead the color of our imagination, painted as vividly as a hopeful sunrise, as wondrously as the eye of a storm, as stunningly as we pretend to be.
You can paint yourself however your imagination desires and perhaps some of us are so obsessed with black and white because those are the only colors we could ever imagine, the only colors you spend your entire life trying to cover up your marigold shading.
Our hearts should not have lines to be colored inside of.
Our souls should not be surrounded by whitewashed walls.
Our minds should not constantly calculate “controversial” colors.
Our eyes should not see anything other than a kaleidoscope of color.
You see, racism is nothing new.
But now racism is treated like a metaphorical boogeyman; that if you’re “bad” he will come for you and build a wall to keep you out.
Except I shouldn’t call it a metaphor because that would be His eyes were rubies in the morning light.
But today his eyes are ruby red, not because of the light that shines upon them but because they are filled with blood and unseen sunsets, unseen birthdays, unseen children who wonder where their father has gone.
The only thing he can see is his family wearing all black as they lower him six feet into the ground.
No, racism is nothing new.
But it is nothing old, either.
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The Small Things

I click a pen whenever I meet someone new.
When they ask why, I tell the story of
how my grandfather met his second wife-
he worked at a pen factory,
she at the front desk across the street.
Every morning upon seeing her,
he would consider
going over and sharing his stale coffee,
but she looked like a tea-loving girl.
She flashed a smile
as he once dropped a pallet of Bics,
the ink spilling in lines
of black and blue, red and green
throughout the road.
Each one clicked as they hit the ground
and she rushed over to play Pick-Up-Sticks
in her patched-up pantsuit.
He thanked her with dinner and a ring.
Perhaps one day
I will hear the click that brings my true love.

The Last Brick Wall

The last brick wall in my life was absolutely beautiful.
It reduced my life to the words I said to other people.

No blissful idea of comparative literature considers the personal friends you know.

I met her and her smile said
watch and wait.

After feeling scared, reputation and possibility-
for the incurable romantic finding her way through winter-
is all that is left.

I needed her to love me.
I loved her.
It was enough to be with her.

The brick walls are there for a reason.
They give us a chance to show how badly we want something.

Words

A poem sprouting from a discussion about the place of trigger warnings in academia and their unwarranted censorship of meaning.

Words.
Funny how they exist,
and strange what we can do with them.
After all, some may call me a poet
because occasionally I’ll rhyme
or my verse will be even:
metric or symmetric.
But if I say random words,
would they be my claim to fame?
Like err, e’re, and air—
heir (or their, anyway).
And would they try to decipher my meaning?
And would they find one?
And would it involve love?
(It certainly does now).

In the Cosmos and Depths Our Minds Dwell

In the style of Siwashing It Out Once in Siuslaw Forest and August on Sourdough, A Visit from Dick Brewer by Gary Snyder.

I.

For tonight I kissed the stars amidst a jungle
of comets and moons     wells dug before the Milky Way could walk
I look up and see the smiles of ancient gods
and behind them     their tales and songs
Never more have I wanted to fly     and try as I might
it is not yet time

II.

Into the caverns of the night     we travel
with minds aglow like torches     the flames of old
They spread across the tree limbs     dead
with new life waiting     in the wings

III.

The whole world     the whole galaxy     the whole cosmos is own home
and though we may travel within its veins in search of a place
to rest our heads     we are never alone
with our birthright in the stars above our heads
Each a compass     each a guide to a home
we have yet to dream     simply by being alive