A Gift


What was hidden is now plain for all to see.
Ruse of political correctness, now Rage
Marches in combat boots, armed, mutinous

T-shirts emblazoned, Camp Auschwitz
By those who also deny its veracity.
What might seem like end times is also a gift.

Those angered, left out of university classes
Of ethnic studies, critical race studies, so many
Other-centric fields in the dissolution
of Eurocentric curricula, epistemes,

Can now follow along and read in sync
What the rest of us scholars, visionaries, singers,
Activists, artists, poets have been orating,

The indigenous now for five centuries straight
Decolonizing every waking moment with song,
Dance, memory, food, ritual, story, wisdom.
What might seem like end times is also a gift.

Their claim to greatness is whiteness
And its direct inheritance, pie pieces, privilege,
Currencies heavy in pockets bereft

Of moral claims on the conscience of a nation –
Now, those very ‘citizens’ can finally read
Pages from our books in the multitudes

Of languages summing up American ideology
Writ large on bodies in blood: privilege
Comes packing, the privilege that renders

Palisades in blue null when faced
With entire mobs pillaging, breaking,
Entering sacrosanct houses

Of democracy, the same blue that fires
Upon a man declared ‘bad’ on sight
From high on above in a helicopter, logic

Being, he deserved to be shot dead
For being, breathing while Black,
Examples so numerous charts run

Way back into an accounting book
That stopped counting the violence
Against Black, Native, Othered

Bodies on which the nation has been
Formed so this here, is really its own
Image, reflected back like Narcissus.
What might seem like end times is also a gift.

Demagogue whines, harrumphs, tweets,
His minions follow his bidding –
An idiom of revolutionary zeal for liberty

Tied into collective doubt, anxiety,
Distrust of the Other. Accept this for it is as
American as tamales, tater tots, Teflon.

Protest, dissent, march, speak up – practices
Of decolonization now taken up by the marauders
Of democracy, but they are not anomalies,

Mutations, this Thing no aberration
But a visual representation in flesh and tweet
Of the idiom of whiteness itself.

What was hidden is now plain for all to see.
What might seem like end times is also a gift.

Shreerekha Pillai Subramanian
January 6, 2021

Shreerekha Subramanian is Associate Professor of Humanities at University of Houston-Clear Lake. Author of Women Writing Violence: The Novel and Radical Feminist Imaginaries (Sage 2013), she is at work on book projects focused on prisons and the humanities. She can be reached at subramanian@uhcl.edu.