Harvard Square Gentlemen
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts.
I find Harvard Square
bathed in crimson red
by its cobblestoned streets
and rather prestigious-but-once-
men-“Ivy League” university.
Yet still, it guarantees me
an opportunity, just like anywhere
else, to be accosted by some
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
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)
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)