Sunday, May 10, 2020

Them and We

Them and We
When will we rise above this you and me, 
A constant obsession with them and we?
When will we grow bigger than our tribes,
Our separate Peace and our separate lives?

A land of isms divides us, as we wallow in our individualism.
Our conservatism and nationalism, our liberalism. 
Our criticism, our sexism, our racism.
A land grasping, desperately clinging to the edge of our schism. 

Me, I’ve never seen a white man; Or a man with skin that’s black.
But I’ve cheered a sportsman with dark braided hair as he scrambled from a sack.
My wife gave birth to an auburn-haired child, with skin the color of crème.
And I’ve listened to the words of a caramel toned man and thought my country redeemed.
I’ve never seen a white skinned man; I’ve never seen a black one.
Only humans whose ancestors received different embraces of the sun. 

Sun’s grace be damned—we cling to alternate facts.  
I belong, you do not.  I am white and you are black.
A shot rings out, and children fall,
Little ones, learn to corner and crawl.
A grown man drives his car in fear,
Be ready to smile, wide and placid till all is clear.
A gay man hides, lives life alone,
Ignore the hate, it’s all sticks and stones.
A woman suffers her role as prey,
So stay in groups, cover up, go out only in day.  

How do we cling to such ignorance,
Meet such injustice with complacent acceptance?   
When all of science, the work of the learned are at our beck and call.
When with eyes and ears we experience events that should appall?

My God, my rights, 
My clung to vice,
My money, my party,
My self-righteous army.
How dare you try to lump us all together,
When I’m ahead and your people wore feathers.
When I came first, well, second, or third,
But I came with guns and the written Word.

And yet as I call shame upon those and them,
I fear my own hypocritical right to condemn,
What privilege in rhyme do I intone,
From a middle class and sheltered throne?

I don’t know the answers, and my voice is my voice.
To stay quiet is to condone, that shall not be my choice.
While I bear no guilt for the events of the past,
I must share the burden of injustice still vast.

I care not your skin tone, only such that the greatest art comes in all shades.
I care that you listen, that you think, that you cause no one to be afraid.
I care that you are kind, that you are noble.  
That you nurture and love our children and let them rise and grow hopeful. 

No comments:

Post a Comment