In this skin

A poem of resistance

hans van den berg creative commons

In this skin, pale, covered in a shame I cannot own, a shade of guilt
on the flip side of privilege, I see everyone othering,
and I am an other to myself because I can see who I am in this world.

This skin, pale, vanilla, ivory, beige, porcelain, white, how did
I end up in this vessel with privileges I did nothing to earn?

There’s a cruel privileged few, able to stay in control 
although they are the most ignorant. 
Truly the dumbest of the dumb 
are running things, embezzling from us all. 
They strengthen barriers against others, to them, 
only white lives matter, and rich white ones more.

I don’t want to look like them,
I don’t want to wear the same color skin.

In the light of day I burn red uncovered and exposed.
In the light of the news, I burn redder, angry, ashamed,
of the violence done by people who look like me, 
the people who own the most guns, kill the most people,
control most of the wealth.

I am angry, but I become numb and number 
with each verdict, and each new attack.

Otherness is spreading like a plague.

We all have it, or carry it. There is no cure, pill, vaccine. 
One day, it will kill us all.

More and more often, I want to turn in my citizenship and move away.
This is not America, this has never been America to me.


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