Eggshells: A poem

by fxwrk

I was always the one to tread lightly.

I used to deflate around you

Out of habit

I would put on my lampshade

pour the ice water of your opinion on the fire that burned inside me

Lord forgive me but

the world can only ask me

the world can only ask a black woman

For so much

patience.

So now,

I STOMP on your eggshells.

Listen.

In a little classroom,

with 4th grade rainbow children

all about,

he tells me

calmly

that

I am nothing.

This white ‘friend’,

Who ‘meant no harm’,

Tells me

That social inequality

Is just the result

Of a larger,

Unblameable

problem

Called “differences in intelligence”.

There are rainbow babies all around us

We are paid to teach them how to fly.

But apparently

the black wings come

a little bit

smaller.

He tells me that

the intelligent

succeed.

the intelligent succeed.

test scores, he points out.

Statistics.

Culture.

He rides the bell curve up

and

down

my

spine

without ever mentioning it,

prickling the last of my snapping strands,

I bristle.

But we wear the mask.

And I, too sing America.

So I argue back

I’m smarter than he is and I know it. I learned to speak his language

in marble corridors where pedro and juan buffed floors til they shone

to impress CEO daddies

and bleach blonde martini mommies

on parents day at boarding school.

i might be genetically inferior

but i got into wesleyan too

i can do what he does

i can speak his language.

so,

I explain and remain calm

to defang his calm violence

his learned imperialism

his justified silence,

his smiling, friendly murder

of an entire people

with just a few well meaning words

from your average

friendly

always well meaning

always well meaning

always well fucking meaning

white guy.

Lady sings the blues to him.

She explains

all the ways

in which to box up a people

lock them in a prison

lock them in a prism of non-reality

hard work comes before success  in the dictionary,

but so does black

And that’s only writing

So if “We the people” meant anything at all

Then things in writing don’t mean shit

For me.

Lady sings the blues to him.

I say

Lets step away from the material reality of endless

Merciless

ongoing

oppression, to see

That there are invisible prison bars

In the minds

In the souls

In the hearts

Of my people.

Tell me where the success is to be found behind bars?

If you are my friend,

If I am real to you

And not just some outstanding exception to all the other naturally dumb niggers,

Look behind my bars

See that there is pain and blood dripping off my words,

And quiet resignation and acceptance of privilege oozing out of yours.

See that every time you tell me that people of my skin color are less intelligent,

You grind a smiling dagger around in my gaping wound.

I STOMP on your white eggshells.

Listen.

They are as thin as the white lies spread flat over three hundred years of history,

Trying to choke LIFE out of the people who want to live it.

But here I am.

Sitting in the same classrooms as you.

If you think the rest of us are dumber,

You must think me special.

What an accomplishment,

You think,

That I am here with you.

That’s awesome.

Totally great.

Even though she probably got here on the full scholarships they give to black kids

To spice up the website.

With exciting ethnic flavor right?

I know you’ve thought it.

And then he tells me,

My white friend tells me,

That affirmative action

Based on his prior reasoning about our intelligence,

Is wrong.

I stomp your eggshells

until they are dust where

They sat

in quiet solidarity.

Until the big,

Black

Scary

Angry

Complaining

BITCH elephant in the room

Went a little

Insane.

And woozy

With visions

of freedom,

She dreamt of

Having a voice

And then she dreamt

Of learning to use it.

Though they told her

That they will never get it

And they told her

To just survive

And don’t fight.

Just accept

And don’t question

And don’t argue,

Because they have the power.

And they don’t give

A fuck

About us.

I am the mad black animal in the room.

I am the creature that fell off the boat

That traveled slow, slow, slow

On calm seas

To eventual equality.

If you listen close

You can hear the sounds of the waves

going ‘hush, hush’

‘Hush” Over and over again.

I was falling off.

And there I was

A creature

with a white friend.

Watch as my trunk

encircles you,

Wraps around your neck

and forces the hot air out of your blown up head,

and pulls the pacifier out of your skinny pale lips

pacifier pacifist.

And I call you that

not in the sense of war

but in the sense of you

being passive.

Because passive

Is what you are,

among other things,

that I won’t name,

when you think

that affirmative action

Is not necessary. is unfair.

(aw, your poor little meritocracy! delusions abound.)

you are passive because you

sit

In your smart pink body,

blonde hair gracing your Aryan super brain like a crown of glory,

And you watch

as grass grows

In black communities,

slowly

slowly

slowly,

ever

so

slowly.

And in the moments

that you look away,

as is your natural

white

reflex,

you miss the fleshy pink hands

ripping it up

ripping it out

From the roots

and you turn back again

and wonder what happened,

and blame the grass for being of inferior quality.

you blame the ground that you WALK on, every day of your life, by virtue of your birth.

Step off me

and listen.

This white friend of mine,

he will always

look away.

because he can.

He will look away right when he needs to

because it isn’t his fault

It isn’t his fault

It isn’t his fault

It isn’t his fault

I stomp and crush your eggshells

I sweep up the dust

And throw it in the eyes of any onlookers

Black or white

Who dare to

Even conjure up the thought

Of silencing me.

Listen.

I stomp on your pale, white eggshells

I grind them into nothing.

the little black girl I tutor was listening

the entire fucking time

she is an introvert

like me.

she works quickly. she is observant.

she is nine years old and she bubbles with special

with knowing.

with potential

as much potential as anyone else.

(I bristle I seethe I ache)

I will talk to her when he walks away.

 

But as for you

When it is all over you will know. And you will try

to cry with me.

and I will toss you away from me.

fuck off, Nazi.

and when you get mad,

i’ll put on my best puppy dog eyes

and ask

Why are you so angry?

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