A Bar on Turtle Island

A BAR ON TURTLE ISLAND

Second Chances is nursing his third beer. He’s White,
wears a worn baseball cap, is looking for work,
always finds it here. After all, this is the bar
where everyone knows your name.

Presumed Innocence is with him. He’s a big guy,
White under all that scruff, a total teddybear
unless you get him angry. You can’t
stay mad at him, though. This is the bar

where everyone’s got your back. Like Freedom!
There he is, doling out White-ass daps to everyone,
Cis as pigskin, his arm wrapped around the White back
of Inherited Wealth, hoping he’ll buy the next round.

Oh, they’re all here! Assumed Authority is holding court
with State’s Rights and Objectivity, their White grins
flashing as darts fly by. Bullseye! Stand Your Ground’s
hands are just too White to miss. This is the bar

where Patriotism pours shots on White legs
that don’t feel right since the war. The work
is hard, but the regulars tip well. Working Class
gives him a White nod as he hauls the trash

into the kitchen where no one sees Tradition
scrub dishes White as milk. She knows she’s loved,
thinks of Right-to-Life tucked tight in his White bed,
trusts the world is hard and good. Outside

White Feminism pounds at the door, shouts
about all the ways she’d run things better.
Standing on rampless stairs, she won’t
ever turn round, won’t ever find out

what’s behind her.

All around her, a Queer green wild is retaking
the town, pushing in Crip time up through
rootless pavement, revealing Brown earth
shining under a night as Black as Justice.

Categories: Poetry

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