EYE & I ISSUES, FOR FEBRUARY 4

“The world is white no longer, and it will never be white again.”
James Baldwin, from “Stranger in the Village”

Women, black and beautiful, with white husbands:
The capital of canton Vaud.
Their children have:
My coffee skin;
My curly hair, from younger days,
Re-writing the signs,
The codes,
The markers,
The modes,
Defying eye problems,
Confounding I issues.

I’ve seen more black wives of white husbands in 6 years here, than during half a life-time in the united, United States; And my mottled family doesn’t turn a single head in this ancient Roman outpost.

But…

One hour away, in Sion,
(not on Jordan, on the Rhône),
Shopping for ice skates,
My daughters, legible as whites only,
In certain eyes,
Are double-taken as their
Father holds their hands,
Or touches their shoulders:
Glances become gazes.
An unexpected family portrait
Misread as…?
Might as well be Greek
To the innocents promised this land,
Unread natives puzzling the picture
Unblinking … thinking, until…
My return stare triggers
Improved literacy,
Click! Eyes meet: I & I
In another color:
Silenced exchange of no caliber.

Embodied rhetoric of the mind’s soft eye,
Become the issue of the heart’s hard fist:
Race is everywhere, but isn’t everything,
Lighter than Diallo’s wallet,
Imaged nothing, neither good, nor bad,
But in the beholder, thinking.

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