041511 righteous rage


it happened on a hot sticky summer day
to a small stranger in the smaller town of LA
sitting in the car across the street
waiting for some family
i watched the scene unfold…
for the rest of this story i will pray
Thy Justice be done, Thy Truth be told
about an incident nevermind how old
years ago, told in the first
this is how it went…

“from the safety of my distance
it started with what i could hear
a man shouting racial slurs and epithets
they made their way to my ears
in between the violent threats

i turned to look
and from what i could see
it was a customer and store clerk
white man was loud
white man was angry
white man was red in his face
while the clerk stood calmly, i thought
‘this is more than mere retail work,
what the hell is wrong with this place?’
white man still shouting, my thoughts continued
‘where do we keep that can of mace?’

after a minute of offensive infringement
white man left the place still pissed
i could tell from where i sat
because his panties were in a twist
the clerk was frantic, on the phone
and i sighed relief, thought it was done

but white anger soon proved me wrong
my hopeful belief a lone stupid song
there’s even more fun yet to come
he returned w/a younger one in tow”

i pray that kid was not his son

“more shouting, slurs, epithets
in between the violent threats
this time so the kid could know…
i thought, ‘that’s it, cracker’s cracked, he’s being mean’
so i stepped out, stepped up, stepped in between
intent to bust apart the scene

first i turned to the clerk and asked the obvious:
‘is this idiot bothering? are you ok?
a beef with you is a beef with me
and i’m getting tired of his douchebaggery’
but he didn’t seem to have much to say

so i turned next to the red-faced man
‘hey you, what the hell are you doing?
this dude is my cousin, you cardboard shoe
any beef you have with him
you have with me and my entire family
and i don’t have any patience
for the toxic shit you spew’
but for some reason he wasn’t listening

let’s get real:
i didn’t have any hope for change from this idiot
he’s too far gone, been drunk too long
on his racist misplaced rage
so i turned instead to talk to the kid
hopefully still innocent, younger in age,
mustering the calm contact of a sage, i said
‘hey, i know you know it’s hard
but don’t pay too much mind to the toxic crap he spews
or his parasitic worldview will infect you, too
and eat you alive from the inside'”

merely wishful thinking read anew

“that’s what i wish i could have said
but i was only five at the time
and the big people i was with
could only sigh uncomfortably
and shake their heads, as if to imply
‘yeah it’s wrong but…
all’s well that ends well
no one hurt, no one dead…’
or ‘who are we to try and change his mind?
it could be dangerous, so let’s leave
before the scene becomes a crime…’
or ‘it’s just the way the world is,
love or leave it, get used to it, kid'”

and so in the short space of an hour or less
a five year-old’s acute sense of righteous rage
turned into a chronic sense of powerlessness

what right do we have to fear for our safety
when we’re not the ones under attack?
and if i’m not there for others in need,
then when my turn comes, and they come for me,
who in Hell will have my back?

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