New Poem: “Privilege”

I do not usually post poems on this site, but as a white person living in the times of the Black Lives Matter movement I’m having feelings that just want to get out. I wrote this about what it’s like to be suffering and still be achingly conscious of white privilege.

Privilege

I got troubles, I got poison in my head
wanting to kill me and that’s fucked up it’s true
But if I open these pale ears of mine
I got other voices that talk at me too

and the voices they say, listen white girl
listen to us black and dying out here
dying while we’re trying to live
dying when we’re trying harder than you

Hear us howl, not afraid of a traffic stop girl
no stinkeye when you go in a shop girl
get some attention in the ER girl
not labeled druggie even if you are girl

Listen white girl, if it’s all you can do
just twist that razor blade in your hand
the one with a silver edge at a right angle
to the fishbelly skin inside your arm

Tilt it enough to catch the light
once and again just like the light
revolving on a black and white
shining on blood in this time of war.

Bad Poet

I want to be a bad poet.
I want good poets to shake their heads indulgently at the rawness,
the lack of craft,
the lack of depth
in my work.

I want to be a drama queen with words and images;
smile sheepishly
when I read a poem a week later.
I want to publish things impulsively
like this.

I want to sit in cafes feeling sensual with artsy paper
getting ink on my fingers
while I scrawl the “perfect” phrase
and oh,
I want that phrase to be so, so imperfect.

What glorious liberation, to be a bad poet!
What freedom to shout, what license to play!
What security to know I am bad,
and never waste

one more moment

fearing that I might be.