Victim

I am heartened by the massive outpouring of good will to push back against the violent forces of White racism in Charlottesville and to rescue and assist the many people suffering from the devastating hurricane in Texas and Louisiana. At the same time, I am painfully aware that our present crisis is fueled by the self-destructive sense of victimage and self-sabotage that Arlie Hochschild has portrayed in her important book Strangers in their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right. I am acutely aware of how Trump and his collaborators are manipulating this anger, injury, and ignorance to ravage our land, our skies, our civic souls, and our bonds with other people around the world, all for the sake of gilding their own towers and gated communities. Out of that pain arose this poem, which I share with you. I am not sure I know what it means. Maybe you do.

 

I’m so thirsty, haven’t had a drop of red or white for years.

            I’m bloody thirsty. Take away the cups they stole and give them back to me.

I’m so blue. In depression since the War. The wars. So many wars.

            Give me back my dreams again, let me have that trophy home.

And these floods. Please stop these floods.

            I need to find my car, fill it up, drive it to the oil fields.

I’m so angry, holding up the ladder, fingers hurting underneath the shoes above.

            Put me back on top again, let their fingers feel the pain.

I’m so scared, they’re coming in to take away my soul, take away my purity.

            Give me back security, give me back my history.

I’m so sick, my body filled with poisons, all those doctors killing me.

            Kill the doctors. They don’t know. Let my poisons be.

Please, I need a medication for my leprous, whitening skin.

            Please, just a cup of soup. I’ll give you anything.

            Please, a bullet for my pain.

 

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3 Responses to Victim

  1. Bill, you capture a pain that is so universal. And it is so abstract but deep and powerful. You shed tears on behalf of humanity.

  2. Katharine Preston says:

    Powerful poem, Bill. I think you speak for a set of people who hurt deeply…and don’t really know why.

  3. Sara Jenkins says:

    Oh, Bill. This rings so painfully true, giving language to voices we scarcely hear.

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