It's just poetry, it won't bite

Charlottesville says no to hate!

12.04.17 Posted in today's words by

Patricia Asuncion’s most recent poem to appear here was “Ant Traps” (November 2017)

Charlottesville says no to hate!
By Patricia Asuncion                                                 

My bi-racial skin sensitizes me to the White
that spreads like Southern soft cheese
over the town and university
so, you cannot see what you’re eating,
cannot sense what you’re tasting. Whites
gather with Whites at the restaurants, the arts, the jobs; Blacks
gather with Blacks; Hispanics with Hispanics.

Foods on the same plate don’t touch,
all polite and careful. The richer Whites
from Old South families are
on a whole other buffet, much like the country.

Fired up from Friday’s court victory,
alt-right cracker, Kessler, joined hundreds
more tiki-torchers to Jefferson’s statue,
the slaveowner President, who legitimized them in their eyes.

Last-minute counterprotesters rallied ‘round the statue,
became welcome targets for Unite Right ragers,
armed with clubs and pepper spray. More
locals were trapped at a nearby interfaith peace service,
afraid to leave their sacrosanct rabbit hole for hours,
until cops restored peace.

Both groups were drawn to Thomas Jefferson,
The Apostle of Democracy:

the public servant and Father of the Declaration of Independence
who proclaimed equality for all;

the private man who believed Blacks would never
be as smart as Whites, who used his enslaved
to build his Monticello and his university, who used his enslaved
Sally to bear his children.

Like Jefferson, Charlottesville is a public liberal
in the polls, but with deep ties to a racist past—
pro-slavery in the Civil War, pro-Klan
at the ‘20s statues dedication, pro-segregation
in the ‘60s as an NAACP test-site.

Saturday’s sunrise interfaith service
at First Baptist spilled silently down streets to Lee,
now Emancipation Park,
to heavily-gunned men and women,
infesting the tight space. Verbal threats and chants

exploded into violence when a White supremacist
hurled urine-scented brown liquid. Airborne
water bottles, screaming streams of pepper spray,
air thick with tear gas led to the governor’s state of emergency,
as if wild animals can back away from a fight.
He was dead wrong.

Many Unite the Right ran an angry gauntlet to comply
with the governor, get away, grab a fallback position
to regroup, not to surrender, like a den of snakes recoiled,
to McIntire Park where headliners
Spencer and Enoch and Duke relit the charge,
touted Trump’s support to take White America back!

A disturbed hornets’ nest of counterprotesters
surged downtown arteries, one large group
onto Fourth Street where James Alex Fields Jr, 20,
from Maumee, Ohio, drove a Dodge Challenger into them
killing Heather Heyer, 32, injuring nineteen more.

Barely a mournful breath when two more dead
from a copter crash, State Troopers Cullen and Bates,
who’d monitored the bloodshed.

Against Whites Only terrorism, an imperfect
but unbroken Charlottesville rallied
from all genders, all ages, all skin tones.
Sunday morning, the message, painted by students,
on UVA’s Beta Bridge, underscored
unity at all costs,
Hate has no place here. We choose love.

One Response to “Charlottesville says no to hate!”

  1. Hiram Larew says:

    For those of us poets wo grew up in Charlottesville, thanks!

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