Black and White

by Peter Notehelfer


You ask what I think
of the rioting in Baltimore
as though you think my brain
processes information differently
than an average human brain
somehow filtering out bias
seeing less subjectively 

Truth is I’m conflicted
torn on one hand by rage
at the latent tribalism still so
evident in the ghettos of our land
cotton pickers with cell phones
without a past or a future
burning the plantation

And on the other hand
I’m dumbfounded by police
who keep heavy`handed peace
with old`world fascist strategies
as if Dutch in old South Africa
where men held men slaves
bullied into submission

You ask what I think
of the rioting in Baltimore
My opinions are not coherent
Racism is so deeply rooted in us
its removal is to cut out hearts
to transplant them Black
into White into Black

“[Poets] are expected to have more seriously considered opinions

because they’re poets – and not necessarily predictable opinions.” ~ Carolyn Forché

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