New Poetry

Harvard Square Gentlemen

Location:  Cambridge, Massachusetts.

 

I find Harvard Square

bathed in crimson red

by its cobblestoned streets

and rather prestigious-but-once-

historically-only-open-to-White

men-“Ivy League” university.

 

Yet still, it guarantees me

an opportunity, just like anywhere

else, to be accosted by some

not-so-elderly-but-perhaps

-wishing-he-were-young White

gentleman.

 

I use the word “gentleman” out of courtesy and custom.

 

Harvard Square gentlemen

like to hide behind

political correctness while evading

the history of slavery

that have paved its streets,

upon which they still stand

 

and have the audacity to call to me

while simultaneously attempting to evince

equality punctuated by stereotypical questions

like “Why are you so eloquent? ”

and “How did a Black person

become one of our residents?”

 

To both of which, I respond, “It happens.”

 

It takes Google only 37seconds

to search and find out that Black

 women are often seen as prostitutes

in places such as Rome, Italy,

still rife with gender

and racial inequality.

 

It takes a labyrinth of pseudo-intellectual conversation

in Harvard Square, involving disbelief and justification

of my intelligence (due to its combination

with the darkness of my skin

and my apparently aesthetically pleasing countenance)

to produce a similar result—

 

I remind myself that “Ivy League” refers to growing plants rather than acumen.

 

There is simplicity and knowledge

in taking walks through Harvard Square,

where stopping while being smart, Black, and female

continues to mean a very real potential for devolution

of even the most self-perceived racially esteemed of gentlemen,

including those who have been stamped with a label

 

of Juris Doctor, alumnus of Harvard University. 

Even they too suffer the wiles of unrecognized “White

Privilege” and have bought into the stereotypes

of racial hierarchy such as are continually displayed on T.V.

Somehow it has led them to believe in “White” as a command

for racial and gender minorities to become their Instant On-Demand,

 

Well, I am not Comcast.

 

And in any case, my dear

Harvard Square

Gentlemen,

the price is too high

ever to be paid

by any man.

 

So be wise.

 

Save your breath

and your time.

Use those dollars,

and that privilege

to board an aeroplane to Rome

and while there, learn the language

or, at very least, plain speech.

-db (Revised May 2012)

Parking Meters

We pay once life finds us.

We pay when death comes.

We pay with the seconds passing

like cars at parking meters –

Quick! Before time is up.

-db (Summer 2011)

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