Three Sonnets on Being Whiteness


The unbearable whiteness of being
white   weighs on me   tortures me day and night —
a self-loathing fat fuck Orpheus light,
the ex I stiffed   pillar of salt   fleeing
to Sister Ophelia’s nunnery
seeking sinless blank canvassed nothingness,
while I’m on the lam from wolves. I confess
a fond   white    need for constant punnery,
and when the poltergeists arrive to chew
me out of my mind, like dead Eliot
madmen   geraniums   shaking   my view,
I’m Hamlet   the white king   and his zealot.
I cry to see what the mourning will bring,
self-lynching;  it’s an existential thing.


She waltzed in   liebfraumilch smile   bosom high —
she sang Prost! I heard Proust   and then she pressed
her spiggage against my face   I undressed
her in my mind, my tongue climbing her thigh,
and thought fondly of our purity laws,
blau augen  blond haar  oompah in mein Herz,
arse white as the driven snow, to be terse,
Himmel high, until she removed my paws.
Turns out she was working undercover
and the cops had need of her baddabooms:
she was looking for zwei Dummkopfen toons
to ausnehmen, not some tuba lover.
But when no Peter Lorre showed that night,
I snaked her garden of earthly delight.


The unbearableness of being white
in a black world  all the hype   too much bleach
too many cycles   no soul   gonads tight
the meaning of the Coltrane honk and screech
eludes me   no color   tabla rasa
crystalline snow hung out to dry — in spite
white picket fence   smiles guard   blanco casa
sleep sheeple   downhill skiing   white on white.
The burden of being white means being right,
hero of the master-slave narrative,
the one you look to for knowing insight
and old ideas needing a palliative.
I’d not stop being white for anything
or anyone or any cause: I’m king.

John Kendall Hawkins is an American ex-pat freelancer based in Australia.  He is a former reporter for The New Bedford Standard-Times.