Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Payday Loans (20 of 31)

He does not want our change but wants our souls,
this black man begging in the crowded train,
warning of God’s wrath, fire, tears and pain
in a voice straight and steely as this pole.
What gives him the right to stand and tell
this herd, who’s not his flock, they’ll go to hell?
A flare is tripped; I want to swing and whack
his jaw. I don’t because the others will frown,
because you don’t kick a man when he is down,
and down is what I often think of black.
I hate the weak who try hard to be strong.
The really strong I can face and attack
but from the weak, so greedy for right and wrong,
so sure of what they deserve, I hold back.

*


I am reading as one of four features at the Cornelia Street Cafe. It'd be lovely to see you there if you can make it. I hope to read some new poems too.

Date: April 23 (Sun)
Time: 6 - 8 p.m.
Place: Cornelia Street Cafe (link below)
Admission: $6 (includes one drink)
No open mike.
http://www.corneliastreetcafe.com/

2 comments:

Winston said...

Hi Jee Leong and blog readers,

What do you all think about how this poem deals with race? I can imagine the speaker as candid and reflective about his emotions and pre-conceptions. But how does it feel to other readers, and in particular to black readers?

Best,
winston

Winston said...

Oops, there's my own pre-conception that the speaker is a he. :-)