The Song of My People

 

I sing a song of white privilege

A song of sunscreen and tomato sandwiches

A song of diet Cokes and Virginia Slims

I sing a song of chocolate chip cookies baked at midnight

Of Hershey’s nuggets

And meat with dinner every night

Of running down gravel roads, falling, and picking tiny rocks out of bloody palms

A song of homeschooling with a stay at home mom

Of please, and thank you, and Dear Lord

Of sit up straight

Of VHS tapes and shareware DOS games

Of Vivaldi and King James

Of Laurel and Hardy, and Scarface

Of Taily Bone on cassette, and Grimm’s Fairy Tales in hardback

Books and books and books and books

Wading the cold creek barefoot, the rocks don’t hurt after your feet go numb

Catching fireflies in the yard at dusk

More books, late into the night

Whoa, your dad’s house is huge! Are you rich?

Of exploring the woods

Dog bounding ahead, cats padding behind

My own secret church in a fallen tree

When I marvelled at life and wondered what I was,

A song with a touch of existential crisis

And even then

A nagging sense of guilt

 

 

 

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43 comments

  • I think you pretty much nailed it. Not in the sense that you listed everything about being middle class white, but that the thinks you listed evoked everything. Off how words and poems can work that way.

    I have issues with “white privilege”, by the way. I think the name for it is unfortunate. It causes too much offense, and so people who ought to listen, tune out any discussion of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Oh we were so fortunate in our young days, so many moons ago….. Yes things were different…. I never thought of privilege, rich or poor, the other side of the line…… there was just the backyard peppercorn tree and my tree-house, and that was my world …..

    Liked by 2 people

  • I feel a sense of guilt must never affect you, if your childhood was loving, happy and positive. Your childhood sounded great, and the good memories obviously made you want to write them down, which is a good thing I feel. I like the line describing vivaldi and King James. I was brought up listening to classical music too x

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did have a loving, happy, and positive childhood. There were negative aspects too, which I glossed over for the sake of poetry.
      But actually, I was self-harming by 11. I hated myself. I felt super guilty for the blessings I had and guilty for not being a good enough Christian. Go figure.
      I really don’t think my parents could possibly have done any better. I bet if I’d have been born into a less fortunate and loving family, I’d be a suicidal mess today. I had to overcome a lot of guilt to be as happy as I am! You’d do better to say, I’m pretty much free of guilt NOW, because I’ve had so much practice releasing it. I love aging!

      Liked by 1 person

      • People romanticize being young but I feel the same way – as I have aged, my psyche has gotten happier and healthier. It’s much nicer than being a neurotic kid! haha

        Liked by 1 person

  • I’m trying to find the ‘like’ button for your poem, but can’t! In any case, it’s a great poem and a trip down memory lane, and at the same time, a very current experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh thank you!
      And thank you for the page feedback. I’ll see if I can tweak my site to make it more visible.

      Like

      • Oh! This wasnt a page feedback, it was a genuine fact that I don’t know where it is. I had no idea you could move it around. Im still learning how to navigate wordpress. But I still wanted to let you know I enjoyed the piece. All the best! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  • delightful memories, shame you were brought up Catholic 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL, fundamentalist Christian, but I accept your condolences!

      Liked by 1 person

      • lol both riddled with guilt … you got my point beautifully 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Your poem is close to my life, minus the big house.

        I spent my early childhood on my maternal grandmother’s farm. As a child, it was huge. As an adult, it was a one acre lot with a one-story, five room cinderblock house with two very old, out of use chicken houses.

        She was a Primitive Baptist. OY.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That sounds like kind of an awesome place to grow up. Our first house was a beautiful little old country home with stone walls made from local rocks. Dad told me after I grew up that it had had SO many structural issues, but it sure was idyllic to me then!
          Haha, Baptist grandmothers are pretty hardcore. Fortunately I dodged that bullet, but I hear stories, it seems like everyone else had one!

          Liked by 1 person

          • It was home/life when I was little. You don’t see awesome until you grow up and it is gone. My family sold the property to a retirement home/rest home company that had been after my grandmother to sell to them when she was still alive. She always refused.

            It, however, was a nice chunk of change for my mother & her four brothers.

            I have my memories, tho… Vegetables, fruit trees, canning, freezing, baking, flowers (she could grow anything), stray cats, bees (next door neighbor was a beekeeper), snakes, frogs, HUGE spiders, squirrels (taste like chicken), her dogs…and UNC public television! Heh. Miss that life. 💔

            Liked by 1 person

          • Yay! I had many of these things except all the garden-related things, my dad was too busy for gardening and the rest of us held no interest.
            I wonder if our spiders wouldn’t be as big today as we remember them!!

            Liked by 1 person

          • I don’t know…the one that keeps building a web right off of my front porch is pretty big. Geez…

            Liked by 1 person

  • Privilege, funny word, before it’s widespread use, no one really talked about it. What else will come about that will cause more self deprivation or slander. I never knew my parents struggled to make ends meet, they never talked about it with us kids, it was their responsibility, not ours.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, I think my dad struggled with money sometimes too, actually. He’s one of those people who is really good at making money but also good at spending it. I’m sure he poured tons of money into mom’s healthcare.
      And it’s impossible to say how much of his success was aided by privilege. There’s just no way to measure it, how can I know?
      The stock market is bias-free though, and that’s where he gets his retirement income. Anyone with his brains (and some savings) could potentially do that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I didn’t mean to discount your writing it was damn good and easy to read. I just find it funny that I may be viewed as privileged. I sum this up in the manner that if someone thinks in privileged is the same as someone thinking I am racist. It seems that it is their cross to bear to assume that I am privileged or racist and any other label they choose to affix to me, that’s all.

        When is the next childish writing like the one from the other day? You’re damn good at what you do Fresh, keep it up girl!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh, had you discounted my writing? I hadn’t noticed, LOL
          Yeah, the privilege thing though… it’s a very tough topic to talk about. But anyone who says privilege is the same as racism needs to go do some more reading…

          Liked by 1 person

          • Hahahahaha, if white people are supposed to be privileged, wouldn’t that be racist towards white people, as a blanket statement?

            Liked by 1 person

          • Yep, it would! But here’s the way I had it explained to me once: You can punch UP, but you can’t punch DOWN.
            That means women can attack men but men can’t attack women. Black people can condemn white people but not vice versa. You can make fun of your supervisor (god help you) but he can’t make fun of you. This is why people in power do best to limit themselves to self-deprecating humor.
            Does that make any kind of sense to you?
            I don’t think I addressed your original comment at all actually. Sorry, sometimes I just randomly say things to you… like, I don’t have a lot of knowledge about politics so I just latch on to the closest reasonable associated thought and give you that. Haha

            Liked by 2 people

          • To each their own girl. I get what you’re saying, I just think we differ in this observation or theory. It’s nothing personal. If true relationships are what we desire, why do we need to agree on anything other that our appreciation for one another and the perspective they bring to the table.

            Liked by 2 people

          • You’re absolutely right… Maybe I’m trying too hard 😊

            Liked by 1 person

          • No worries girl, keep it up, I dig the enthusiasm!!!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Sarah, I simply don’t buy into the “you can punch up but you can’t punch down” take on privilege. I think that argument only serves the interests of people who wish to get away with shaming others for things they are not responsible for (are you responsible for being born into a particular race?).

            I do acknowledge the existence of privilege. I’m not sure how any observant person who understood the concept could fail to acknowledge it. But I simply do not buy into the notion that only people in power are privileged. That’s not science, that’s politics.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I don’t think it applies to every aspect of society, but it makes sense to me in terms of what offends people, especially when it comes to humor.
            Like, an overweight person can make fat jokes, but a skinny person can’t or they’ll look like a bully. A poor person can criticize the rich, but if the rich criticize the poor they will alienate everyone.
            Am I making sense? I really don’t think I’m following the content of this discussion, at least not the way you want me to

            Like

          • You’re making a lot of sense about why people feel the way they do when they make jokes about themselves vs. outsiders make the same jokes. But to me, that’s not what the notion of privilege is all about. I blogged on that here:

            https://cafephilos.blog/2018/08/30/who-is-privileged-and-who-is-not/

            Liked by 1 person

          • No, it’s not what privilege is about at all. I just didn’t have anything useful to say on that subject, hahaha

            Liked by 1 person

          • I think I was just using the punch-up-not-down thing to try and explain that privilege exists and that phrase is what helped me see where the lines were between groups. It’s not the same thing as privilege, but it’s laterally applicable and helps show which groups are in power over which other groups.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Oh, good, am I finally making sense? haha

            Liked by 1 person

        • Oh, you asked about the kids’ stuff… I have a couple more already typed up. I do actually feel like I should ask her permission though before I go nuts with them. I’ll post them eventually, when I feel like I’ve dragged everyone down enough and need something light again. Won’t be long! 😉

          Liked by 2 people

  • Sang right on key 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  • Sounds so familiar. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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