Tuesday, March 3, 2009
The Story of White People
After so long seeming right, as in
true, as in clean as in smart,
being smart enough at least
not to be born some other color
after so long being visitors
from the galaxy Caucasia
now they are starting to seem a little
deficient, leached out, spent, colorless
as in being too far and too long
removed from the original source
suffering from a slight amnesia,
in the way that skim milk can barely
remember the cow.
And this change in status is
mysterious, objective, and indifferent
as at the beginning of winter
when the light shifts its angle of attention
from the mulberry tree to the cottonwood;
just another change of season
not that dramatic or perceptible
but to all of us, it feels different.
Tony Hoagland teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston. His books of poems and essays include Donkey Gospel (St. Paul: Graywolf Press, 1998), winner of the James Laughlin Award of The Academy of American Poets; What Narcissism Means to Me (St. Paul: Graywolf Press, 2003), poems; Hard Rain (Venice: Hollyridge Press, 2005), winner of the Brittingham Prize in Poetry; and Real Sofistikashun: Essays on Poetry and Craft (St. Paul: Graywolf Press, 2006). The above poem appears in the Winter, 2009 issue of Callaloo.