A Letter to My Unborn Grandchildren

Ignoring the elephant is what we’re good at—
comfortable folks strolling through routine.
Yes, I’m guilty of privilege, born white
with a pair of balls, but I have tried
to do my part pointing out what reeks
of ignorance and hypocrisy. Yet,
like the teacher who resists screaming
at his class every day lest they
become inured and ignore him,
I haven’t stooped to address the daily mess
spewed by this racist misogynist.
Remember the little boy who cried
“wolf” or “terrorist.” As Goebbels knew,
“a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth.”
Humanity knows this pose. Every empire
manipulates fear to maintain control.
It’s who we are, what we’ve done, as Americans.
Think of the Indians, slavery, old Jim
Crow swinging in the magnolias and oaks.
Think of women scrubbing on their hands and knees
the afterbirth from his bedroom floor, then
preening in the mirror, powdering his whore.
Of course the elephant must be ignored
because the truth, the shame, the embarrassment,
the horror, the admission, the failure is
too much to hold. Those sins of omission
are the hardest to bear, the easiest to deny.
Though social evolution happens faster
than biological adaptations, it is still too slow
for the lifespan of one man or woman.
All one can do is follow the golden rule
and point out the tarnished elephants
not trumpeting in American living rooms
their fears of losing control of boardrooms
and bedrooms, that good-old-boy’s
Biblical, White-capitalist credo
established to maintain itself, the status quo.
You know that voice: “Don’t give the bastards
an inch, it’ll set a precedent, all the apples
and dominoes will spill across the floor
like spent shell casings from AR-15s.”
Yes, change is slow but inevitable, so
when we’re gone, I hope your songs
acknowledge that we tried, worked
and died to be better, someone like you.

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