mini whiteness chapbook

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

a very brief chapbook-style poem in three parts, each critiquing some aspect of whiteness in america

Submitted: August 27, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 27, 2018



I. fragility / hegemony


A reply to W.H. Auden’s Moon Landing


“Imagine a boldly open sky.”

You see a boy straining to catch a glimpse

of the western horizon’s rim of sun-stained ridges mountains of condensation,

& the wispy trails that follow their voyage across the sky.

[gender identity] takes them in [ownership?] hands and stretches them outward from themselves


Splaying like limbs like his mind,

“Like a man” of the sky

of the sky of his mother splays like the

Fingers-of-his-palm and:


Here is the boy who became the

man who sang a monochrome

Lullaby and cradled the hermit’s head his greasy locks,

the one who convinced the boy in song (yes, he spoke to him self out of time)

that ‘the active hands must freeze

lonely on the separate knees’ so


splays the skies before his eyes and,

w/ his searching fingers thrushing the moon,

stops and rolls back all the billowing fog of his imagination to this one forceful rock his lost precious -


“Imagine a boldly open sky” that can not does not be understood related or relegated that moodlessly exists when our men hot men launched a solded metal phallic monument and the cool men wept for their despoiled virginal mother saint goddess or however their imaginations captured [infinite object] …

However they captured her.


An imitation of Kosmos by Walt Whitman


Where does our responsibility begin here?


where ‘we’ is just a word, and we can wrap it in blankets and trundle it to the nearest meadow, all the while being firm in our hands and gentle in our hearts,


where imagination trickles around those stones buried in our memories,

and those many-flavored streams turn out to be nothing more than the roots of trees


Where, forcelessly, a love, that love that exists between the sun and the meadow, loves us,


where our bodies spin in lunar and solar cycles and there exists, for us, a little smile on the come-around


where balance could not ever be delineated by our sexed bodies,


where we hedge walt whitman’s theorizing, and don’t pretend to know what we were conscious of just a moment ago


here, conscious existence is too precious to privatize, and so we share it


where the banks of our rivers and their rivers and their banks before them all come together


where, in a deliberately situationed manner, by the grace of our first first memories of grace, we find our way in the darkness


and the ‘future’, the ‘past’, cohabitant & beyond us, are elusive delights such that here, where they meet, we are almost, probably, as free as we can be


II. conceit / supremacy


A tweet you saw in a daydream:


‘i want to believe that

mine was the first voice i heard

not my mother’s


in a canyon

of flesh’


& you flicked it away with your thumb

exactly one and five eighths times

very-busy-timeline speed


& when you did, he

,snide at your denial of his extraordinary nature,

chuckled harshly at you.


you remind yourself of Annette Baier’s presidential address to the american philosophical association.

“At any rate it seems clear that, in this [the Western] tradition, persons do not need mothers … To be a person is not to be born of woman, nor indeed to be born at all, but to spring forth from some fertile noumenal field of Ares fully formed and upright.”






(one) the first time they were indignant


(two) the second time (how dare he do it twice) the very name was vilified ‘til


(red) ,impetuous like the group of 1st grade boys who swore they wouldn’t do nap time anymore


(blue) he brought home (ordered online) a .45 caliber handgun, model designed in 1911, with ‘proud of our troops’ engraved on the side


 mccain had seemed awesome to the boys;

Fighter jet statesman, and

our parents’ senator


 and romney was the

reams of printer paper in the principal’s office

but somehow flatter and whiter and more boring

(yes it felt to us like “we” didn’t like him like “we” weren’t like him)


 with mccain it was a feeling like

the colors red and blue

and one quiet voice in the back saying dulce et decorum est pro patria mori

with the patria getting caught in the wind like a kite


but the second time around you could smell the bitter beer-stench

bubbling all wrong & rhite, already

You learned to live in the gaps between their mobilizing - those

boys all gettin’ strapped up for something


(one)  “i thought elections were about freedom, how come you’re scaredof losing your liberty?”

son it’s like in star wars when she says liberty dies, to thunderous applause


(two)  Are we really living in the age of a rising monarchy? What does it mean for me? Will there be fighting? Will it be here? Could we ever possibly beat our own Government?


III. confrontation / abolition




“Oh, absolutely sir,”

“That’s correct.”

“- Correct.”

“You’re absolutely right, no you’re absolUtely right”


you feel a bit like a house cat toying with something shaped like a ball

the ball is a collective ego

the ball is all the ideas our white fathers threaded and wove into spheres

the most self-contained (and self-containing) tool


“Oh yeah, that would be right over here”


and here you get to see this ball

tracing it by the threads you’ve seen

and been taught

and plucked too yourself, all while


“which was extremely careless, and irresponsible, of course, but”


the threads bouncing in the colorlessness give away the game

make it easy to tell where he’s dangling the ball now

where he plans to send it next

and you’re always there ready to pounce


“True. True!”


and he, and you, dancing at the ends of those strings

a white mid-college student and a white just-after-college pd officer

both of us working hard convincing him that whiteness is coherent

, has nothing of hypocrisy technocracy or fucking histo-crisy i dont know


Y’know to be honest, I’m a little jealous of your whole setup, this is the kind of college experience I wish I’d had, I just went to Chemeketa”

“Woah, really man?”


where there is a son (of whiteness) there must also be a Father,

and this one’s was called Sergeant ______ and He had about as much use for a house cat as a nuclear dad had for house cats,

and knew He was coming to a suspected dealer and knew He was the father to the younger officer,

Now listen. I don’t know what your deal is but you’re lying to us right now so I need you to give me the Truth, Now.

“I’m sorry, sir I don’t know what to say. I’m being completely honest”

I mean he’s been really upfront with me so far, it sounds like he was just being careless, letting his buddies smoke in his room, but it doesn’t look like he’s dealing”


You Are Not a curious cat, you’ve always kept your questions to yourself

you learned that when you were young, to watch whiteness work or be beat into line.

now you’re just something with a beating heart that knows the color of their tongues,

And you can act out the rules to the game that they’re playing with you


And hope that you’ve paid enough attention to the absurdity in the rules to know how to navigate this,

You’ve been steeped in these Ideas, games, absurdities your whole life

now weave them together, roll them into a ball and watch whiteness work.

Preserve yourself ((for what? why? maybe cuz “if there is a fire you’re tryin to douse, you can’t put it out from inside of the house”))


You’re only 19?... Well see, that’s hard because my son is 19. And I can almost imagine him acting out like this. We want you to know that you’re lucky, for a lot of reasons. You said this is your desk, right, the one you’re letting your friends use? I mean look at your wallet right there, you’re lucky no one’s decided to come in here and steal your identity. And you’re lucky we’re not trying to take you to jail tonight. You’re lucky for a lot of reasons.”

The Absurd


what does it mean to rebel against the order of the universe?


is it choosing to love the sticky little leaves and quiet mornings instead of despising the world for inflicting suffering on its children?

is it like a leak that you can’t and won’t plug?

is it imagining ((a holy act)) your way into some rhythm of happiness that hides between the beats of your heart, unique & indescribable?


i don’t know, but i start with my location, and then i begin

to believe it includes remembering the faults in the order of my universe


Interrogate the early violence you might have almost forgotten

do you remember being forced-into-line?

the first time you learned what a “cult” was, did it seem familiar?


if this is our universe, are we hiding from the horror of it?


if this is our whiteness, are we able to affect it?

((we must necessarily be))

if this is our absurdity, might we imagine ourselves dismantling it?


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