Sunday, June 20, 2010

impediment culture

In Oklahoma I grew up with Indians.
Didn't know that they'd ever left anything
but Florida, which at the time
didn't sound that bad to me,
as hot as it is there.
In Smithville
we were all poor
as possums going through the garbage;
it didn't bother me or my
Indian friend Steven,
who could barely enunciate because
of a speech impediment
but learned to say fuck long before
it ever occurred to me.
I'd always pretended

to be a cowboy,
riding right next to John Wayne,
where heroes wore guns, not face paint.
(And the ones that wore face paint
were usually white guys anyway,
so what difference did it really make?)
You would've figured I'd have gotten

a better idea of how things had been
if how things actually were
was not the normal human shit
every little no-light town has to deal with.

The sun comes up. Goes down.
People are poor, drive drunk,
go to jail, die alone or they
end up "killin' themselves"
in the seat next to Vic Hopper's dad, mysteriously,
and no one cares -
there were drugs in the car
because it's just "thugs killin' thugs," that's all.
And nothing about their color, nothing
about their color at all,
just the shit we were all swimming in,
and the stupid mostly-
white men running the school.

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