Tag Archives: racism

Shame at the grocery store


There were too many simple carbs in her cart,
too much fat, too many nitrates, too much salt—
and all of it bound up with too many additives
to keep everything “wholesome” and “fresh.”
Too few vegetables (and those canned)
no whole grains, no fruits, no greens,
and her toddler mixed in for minding.
Typical.

That child, for his part, was too demanding
of this too-fun thing and that too-treat thing
and had managed to fuss much of it into the cart.
But then his mother went full-on melt-down
and yelled at him to SHUT IT OR ELSE!
because she had to decide what to return,
there not being enough stamps on her EBT card.

Later, as I walked to my car
I saw her holding her child and weeping—
all-in, no-holds-barred, shaking and shuddering weeping.
I only tore my gaze away
when I saw the little boy’s eyes tracking mine.


It is my great fear that instead of eradicating racism in our society, we have bolstered it with its new flavor, classism. Ask any single, struggling mother of any color how our society treats her and you will hear stories that too eerily mirror the way visible minorities have always been—and are still being—treated. We were supposed to be getting better, not worse…

The events in this poem did not happen, at least when I was involved, but are still very much true-to-life.

Thank you for reading Shame at the grocery store. I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain, and as always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph was taken in a local grocery store. To see my photography blog, please visit the Book of Bokeh.

john

Photograph, poem and notes © John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © John Etheridge,  https://bookofpain.wordpress.com. The photograph is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its creator.

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But not too long


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Good-ole-boy Chas said he’d the right of it:
That preacher voted against concealed carry,
that’s why him and his died last night.
Chas-boy thinks that if he and his
had been there that day, they’d have heroed it,
because they’re always packing.

I’d think twice on that, sunshine, if I were you.
Notwithstanding the sheer rudeness of it all,
there’s always Justice, Chas—in the next world,
if not this one. Always. I’d think long and hard
about that if I were you. Long. And. Hard.

swril2

On June 17, 2015, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, who is white, was hoping to start a race war when he shot and killed nine, black congregational members (including the pastor, State Senator Clementa Pinckney) at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, an historic church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Saddened as every empathetic person was at this evil terrorist attack, the article NRA board member blames Charleston shooting deaths on pastor’s vote against guns in churches that came out the next day floored me. One can only goggle at the arrogance, greed, cruelty and self-serving, blind narcissism of such a statement. (In case the article comes down off the server, here is a screen shot of his post. It’s small, but legible:)

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That’s him, good ole boy Chas Cotton, in the picture above the poem.

‘Packing’ is an American euphemism for carrying a concealed weapon. ‘NRA’ stands for the National Rifle Association, a rich, loud and politically strong right-winged lobby known for constantly pushing for more legislated gun rights and viciously defending against any type of gun reform in the US.

Thank you for reading But not too long. I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain, and as always, I look forward to your comments. Please visit my photography web site, the Book of Bokeh.

john

Poem and notes © John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © John Etheridge,  https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.

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Filed under Poetry