Hoodie

I don’t write political poetry generally. I’m not a political person, and I’m even less of one here, where I can’t vote. Not to mention that even the best poets in the world very often write spectacularly awful political poetry; it might be the hardest subject to tackle, save religion. But a prompt to write an epistolary poem to something non-human unexpectedly kick-started this poem. It didn’t stay an episotolary beyond the first draft, though.

When I handed Alec the third draft (something I’ve only ever done for one other person; usually no one reads my drafts) his response to it was “Jesus fuck.” I thought I was probably on to something.

A bit of help for my fellow Americans out there: Hoodies (the jacket) don’t carry quite the same cultural weight here that they do there. And that bird up top is a hooded crow, very commonly called a hoodie here. Hunners means what it sounds like it does.

Hoodie

It’s not just the funny-sounding words — bonnet,
Rubber, lift, outwith, neds — that mean different
Things to me, or nothing at all. It’s the cultural
Cachet of clothing that challenges translation —
Of the hooded sweatshirt I put on against a light
Spring rain without morphing into a young black
Man looking for some no-good to get up to.

No, I stay what I am — a middle-aged white woman
Who can put her hands in her pockets, and no one
Opens fire when they come back out full of cracked
Corn. I scatter it for the birds who share a linguistic
Lineage with my fashion choice, and I gain a shade
Of the rogue by feeding these pests, who die by the
Hunners every year, in black and with their hoods up.

(2017)

(photo: Wikipedia)

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