Why is my race your foe needling you to lord over me,
saving me from my own savagery?
Why is my skin color a phobia gnawing at your innards,
making door locks snap as I approach?
Why is my punishment swift revealing deep-seated prejudices,
exposing unrecognized biases?
Why is my street flashing “blue”
when verdicts and fines from the 2008 meltdown are reversed?
Why is my excessive “heat” normal
when straight powder has a lighter sentence than crack?
Why is my wanting to explode unexpected
when a child or brother of mine is killed?
Why is my disinterest in school surprising
when suspension leads to a Juvenile Delinquency record?
Why is my broken home shocking
when a JD record forces Family Services to see if mom is at home or work?
Why can’t you see how I feel when redlining my community continues
as Hudson City Bancorp pays $33M to make redlining allegations go away?
Why can’t you see how I feel about Democrats wanting a piece of Dr. King
when they created a welfare system making fathers abandon their children?
Why can’t you see how I feel about Republicans
when they just want another mockery of the Civil Rights Act?
Why can’t you see how my heroes are athletes and entertainers,
not your pandering leaders?
Why can’t you see how I feel when the NBA, reacting to LeBron going pro
out of high school, forces players to wait till 19, while PGA, AHL and MLB do not?
Why can’t you see how your rise from poverty
didn’t require you to deal with what I do?
Why can’t you see how your decades of
pensions and home appreciation were denied me?
Why can’t you see how your decades
of opportunities were never mine?
Why can’t you see how I feel
when you just see me as another deadbeat or dealer?
Why can’t you see how my constant smile and nod
responds to your hurtful put downs?
Why can’t you see how I just want
you to be truthful?
Why can’t you see the difference
is the difference within you?
Why can’t you see your problem
doesn’t emanate from me?
Why can’t you see I’ll respect you
when you respect me?
No point our talking
if you won’t hear me.
Marc Livanos’s chapbooks Panhandle Poet — Solitude and Panhandle Poet — Second Helpings are available at Barnes & Noble. His poems appear in Straylight Magazine, Poet’s Espresso Review, Emerald Coast Review, Stray Branch, Old Red Kimono, The Poet’s Pen, Conceit Magazine, The Ultimate Writer Quarterly, PKA’s Advocate, WestWard Quarterly, Zylophone Poetry Journal, Feelings of the Heart, FreeXpresSion, Shemom, Ceremony, JerryJazzMusician, and The Pink Chameleon. Email: marcl[at]mchsi.com