Face of Privilege

Too late.
Should have turned
A quarter mile ago,
And the decline
Is hard and fast.
The streets
Full of garbage
And the buildings’ eyes
Blind with boards.

Ahead of the front,
It’s warm,
So the windows are down,
And singing with the poet,
I smile before realizing
The air’s filled
With something
Out of context.

Back in the present,
I’ve gone too far,
And my heart gains
Altitude.
Try to swallow
This fear —

Pray lights
Stay green —
But none of them do.
And afraid to engage,
Look anywhere.
Look up.
Look ahead.
Look anywhere
But into an eye.

Pause beneath
A bluelight camera,
And all along the street,
A community watches
For the rain’s release.
A baby splashes
In a dirty puddle,
Adjacent to 16
Handshake exchanges.

(Remember,
I am not looking.)

Imagine growing up
Without green.
Imagine growing up
With an empty belly
And a dirty puddle
For a pool.

Finally,
A right turn,
And the fresh downpour
That washes the streets,
And the traffic —
Unbearable to think of
Mere minutes ago —
Are a relief.
So I press on,
And give thanks
For the accidental
Circumstances of
My birth.

Lawndale, accidentally

Shared for OpenLinkNight No. 68 at the dVerse Poets Pub. Head on over and read some poems, friend. Cheers!

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About Emily

I may or may not have: A. Dirt B. Ink C. Paint D. Wool under my fingernails.

9 responses to “Face of Privilege”

  1. Audrey Howitt says :

    All the more reason for those who have more to give more–I thought you captured this beautifully!

  2. brian miller says :

    nice…some really great turns of phrase in this…the blind building, eyes boarded over…the air smelling of something out of context, great touch…ugh and so true ont eh accidental circumstances of our birth…there is a great divide in that…

  3. Laurie Kolp says :

    Imagine growing up
    Without green.
    Imagine growing up
    With an empty belly
    And a dirty puddle
    For a pool.

    …that stanza really puts things in perspective.

  4. Mary says :

    So true….one has no choice over where one was born. The circumstances of anyone’s birth is accidental; but it really would be hard to live in a world without green. Well written poem.

  5. tashtoo says :

    Oh…this is fantastic. You broach the subject well, and what a subject it is. This is one of those, wish I’d written this moments…and that is the highest compliment I can pay. The great divide that Brian mentions…is one we have to bridge. All should be born into comfort, without need…it should be ours to lose…not to win.

  6. ayala says :

    An excellent capture!

  7. ManicDdaily says :

    As Brian says, wonderful turns of phrase – a sense of vehicle, and a very cool subject for a poem, and manner of approach as well. k.

  8. Claudia Schönfeld says :

    Imagine growing up
    Without green.
    Imagine growing up
    With an empty belly
    And a dirty puddle
    For a pool…..wow…that is some nice poetry…such depth in this..

  9. Patti says :

    This is so powerfully written. As others have said, your turns of phrase and the painful images are so effective. It feels horrible to wear the face of privilege in the face of such poverty.

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