Wednesday, November 5, 2008


When you grow up in and around Chocolate City and you're white, you can forget what things are really like. I grew up in PG county, which has the highest concentration of rich African-American people in the country. (My parents actually preferred I date black guys, because they were classier. My father taught part-time at Howard and Bowie State.) So I'm more likely to get this "what's wrong here" feeling when the black people are NOT represented among the ones wearing the suits and running the show. You get used to black doctors, lawyers, bosses, councilmembers. Maybe you start getting a little "colorblind," let it slip your mind that the magazine named for the city you live in has had but one black person on its cover in its long history, stuff like that. You start thinking you're living in one of those movies where the cast is so carefully calibrated, so the judge is always a black woman, and there's always a black friend in the group that hangs out at the restaurant, and of course the president is black; why wouldn't he be?

So thank you, Real America, for once again crashing into my unreal complacency and making me see what's real, and what's really important and amazing and revolutionary. There was nothing easy about it, and I needed reminding.

LOOK OVER THERE. The annual charity poetry contest is back. And Backstretch, I still have your t-shirt. Don't let me drink next time I see you and maybe I'll remember. Yeah, right.


mark said...


Rionn Fears Malechem said...

Trees are strong, and trees are fun
Trees get bigger in the sun
If I could climb a tree and sit
I'd get right back down, in a bit.

Maria Padhila said...


It ain't over til the scrawny lady sings.

malechem said...

Don't feel bad. I've started to make a project of winning contests in the absence of competitors. I'm a contrarian.

Maria Padhila said...

So write you a poem. We're all bozos on this bus.

malechem said...

I wrote the only apparent entry thus far! What, you want another?

On reaching out, I pause
rather like a tree
paused, reached out
If I had bark I'd be its double,
Although less certain of purpose

Maria Padhila said...

Yes, another, my demands are pitiless.
Look in the comments under other days' entries and you'll see more poems! They're scattered. I'll assemble them all on one file later for the big throwdown.