I Want Out of the Cracker Box Too
I saw a student presentation about Rumi
as a BIPOC poet, and all this time
I had thought Persians were white.
A few months later I’m reading about
Robert Saleh, a Lebanese-American, presented
as one of only a few BIPOC NFL head coaches,
and wondering whether anyone
has told Marlo Thomas she’s been
biracial all these years.
Back in her dad’s day, even his pal
Desi Arnaz, though dark and Cuban,
was considered a blanco in the States,
since not too many I Love Lucy
fans would have very much loved
them as a biracial couple.
So I looked it up: both Persians
and Arabs have been seeking status
as America’s newest not-Caucasians,
I even read an article by an Arab-American
about having had enough of being nominally
white without any of the privilege.
At this rate the Aryans might get
their centuries old wish to be the only
ones left in the cracker box.
And I don’t see why this dark-as-Desi grandchild
of Calabrese peasant immigrants
with almost certainly some Arab, if not Moorish
blood should be forced to configure himself
swimming in the same gene pool as Prince Andrew,
Barry Mills or even Edith Wharton;
I don’t know why I should continue to suffer
the Mafia jokes and chronic mispronouncing
of my name without being able to get
anybody in trouble for it. Still more
I have to wonder why any of us whole
wheat crackers would want to stay stowed away
in that slowly sinking ship. What Greek, Jew, Slav,
Romanian, Magyar, Portuguese, Sicilian, Basque, Celt,
Cypriot, Armenian, Bulgarian, Moldovan,
Andalusian, Albanian, all the many others
never welcomed in first class, should choose
now to drown with the rats?
His Wife Isn’t Cheating On Him
Though so many signs are there.
Not just the infrequency of coupling,
but the settled indifference during
and in between.
His spouse has even upped her
nighttime modesty, flaunting flannel
even in July, air conditioning keeping
sultriness at bay.
Someone else must be getting
her attentions, he assumes: the Tex-Mex
contractor with the aquamarine eyes
and know-how he’s never known;
the new English teacher she says
she’s mentoring; the red- bearded Newman
Center priest whose homilies enliven her.
Her time, though, all accounted for,
not enough opportunity to do justice
to vow breaking.
Still the way she mocks his voice
when they argue, the disdain certain
as snowfall and about as cold.
His wife is not cheating on him:
he wishes she were; at least then
he might understand her detachment
even from hate.