If We Try to Censor the Past

If we try to censor the past

We will repeat the past.

If we make vulgar what is beautiful

We will make vulgar.


Cocoa skin is beautiful.

When we make it vulgar

What good thing do we have

To relate to?


Ebony skin is beautiful

Too. Some of the most precious hardwoods.

Make it vulgar

And you made a race vulgar.


Doughy skin—a white man

Will readily apply it to their villain or foil

Don’t say you would not—

Ashen skin we will apply

To an evil prince.


Olive skin, of course

Applies to every Italian

Arab and Sephardi Jew—

Yet, when we make it vulgar

What we essentially do

Is make race vulgar.


No, you are not racist.

Nobody, I have a hunch to say

Is racist, unless you scream “Nigger”

At the black players during football.


Let’s calm down people.

Racism is over.


Understand I’m not being racist.

I am not going to list all of the achievements

Of black Americans, and do my lamentation

About their woeful days of slavery.

That, in my estimation, is racist.


The fact is, our ancestor’s worst sin

Was probably racism.

Other than that, there wasn’t a single thing they did

To constitute a real fault.

With that, since I spent so much time with the generation

Let the past be.

Don’t artificially change the present

With faux pas about language.

As, that’s how dictators come into power.

By prescribing against uses of language.

It’s how cult leaders indoctrinate.

The honest truth, a good writer can

Make the most vulgar things tasteful.

That’s all it takes.

Be vulgar, but be tasteful.

Tap into the veins of culture

But don’t drink the blood.


And for crying out loud

Don’t make metaphors about skin color.

Just call it Cocoa. Everyone likes Chocolate.

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