When privilege rings

Naming. It’s the thing human’s do. We name to identify. We name to acknowledge ownership. We name something to claim a position, or ourselves and who we are.

This reminds me of the time I’d just come out of a pet store, the large warehouse type. My cart was filled with one forty pound bag of dog food, and the coupon I used barely put a dent in the price. My mood was as grey as the afternoon sky because money was tight again. On occasion, I paid some of my bills on alternate months to stretch our paychecks out. This was one of those months. Building has always been a tough business.

I looked round to find my husband’s truck and saw her. She leaned on a cart filled with her belongings as she drew up next to me. She couldn’t have been much older than me, but her slow shuffle and the dark circles under her eyes told a story much different than mine. We talked for a while. She was looking for a nearby shelter and she was hungry.

At first, I felt awkward. It’s always been moments like those that I’ve felt the confining nature of unjust societal norms. It’s the white version, the diluted side of American social pressures. That’s the moment in which she and I came together. That’s the moment my privilege reared its ugly head and made itself known. Not because some injustice had been forced on me, but because I felt uncomfortable knowing that the woman standing in front of me had great injustices forced on her from the moment she was born. That’s the moment I wanted to beat my privilege with a bat!

Eventually, we said our goodbyes. I gave her the remaining cash in my wallet. I wanted it to be more. I wanted it to come with good fortune and the 400 plus years of advantages and power that have allowed me to walk down many streets without fear, unmolested and unnoticed like a tree in a protected forest.

Just before we parted she said, “My name is Dominique.”

I returned the social grace, and began to wonder just exactly who I was.

 

 

© Jan Joe and Born in the year of the dog, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jan Joe and Born in the year of the dog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Beast

Miss So and So plays, and

notes pirouette from the piano keys—

graces mary’s little lambs.  But,

ocean printrapture eludes the triangle

in a world of circles

who watch the ocean roar an opera.

 

 

From where incongruity sits, the beast growls

a spasm of bass, a float of discord.

 

Mr. high and mighty sermonizes

in high octane, delivering…

peals of solace that sway and

slip over pews, and puddle on the floor

as congregations of hymns

flock to see the breaching mass.

 

She blossoms with guilt

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Wednesday’s child observed the constellation Orion from the ship’s deck and couldn’t pinpoint the exact location of evasion. It seemed to weave and bob like ocean swells. Once, she thought she caught a Glimpse, but on closer inspection found it was a Glimmer. While listening to old sea chanteys, she wondered aloud, “How is it that ideals, while jumping through hoops, form braces of fear?”

 

 

 

© Jan Joe and Born in the year of the dog, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jan Joe and Born in the year of the dog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

As I Walk Out of the Light

As I walk out of the light, the dark swallows me whole, and the earth pats my barefoot soul hello.

My feet return the greeting.  Faster, along the path, pretending to gallop, I divine my way.  As the night air takes me in its arms, I push against her soil, and give a whoop.  Somewhere down the road, a howl is returned, and a train wreck of barking bursts and bangs on windows.  I push again and pluck the stars as disturbed night owls flutter.  They’ve got nothing on me.  I’m too big to carry off, and devour.  Battle weary blades of grass, heroic defenders of mole fortresses, brush against my ankles.  Flickers of light through fences send their warnings like lighthouse calls.  And I race on, for there are no breakers here, no reefs to crash upon.  Here, in the shadows, only the sighs of eddies trail behind me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Jan Joe and Born in the year of the dog, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jan Joe and Born in the year of the dog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.