To Juror B37 in the Zimmerman Trial (on the anniversary)

To say you don’t see color
is not a compliment
it’s an insult

To say you don’t see race
doesn’t make you non-racist
it makes you the most dangerous kind –
an ignorant, well-meaning one
who lies

To say that you don’t see my color
implies you see it
something polite people ignore, like
I don’t see the huge scar on your face, or
I didn’t notice your deformed hand, or
I didn’t realize you were walking on prosthetics
I see you as fully human and capable
despite your obvious defects

You offer comfort
as if to relieve me of embarrassment
making me equal to superior you, but
you’re the one who’s uncomfortable
I don’t lack wholeness
you’re the one who’s empty

My color is not a scar
nor handicap
I don’t say so to convince myself
to overcome any odds but
because I really mean it
because you are the one who make it
a deforming handicap
by the way you treat me

Would you tell another woman
you didn’t notice her cute haircut or
fabulous pair of new shoes?
So why do you say you don’t see
my color?
Something I pride and celebrate?

The worst part is
you patronize me
trying to make me feel better for something
you imagine
which shows
you haven’t been listening

You haven’t been listening for 45 years

I haven’t been asking you not to see my color
I’ve been asking you to see ME
in all my black and brown glory
I’ve been asking you to see all my humanity
which is my color
and more

Stop trying to make me feel less
by telling me a lie
that you don’t see color ‘cuz

if that were true
you wouldn’t have to say
you don’t see color.

© S. Rinderle, 7/22/13

Expedition on Venus

Today is a good day for poetry
It’s 11:55 a.m.
my wilted pajamas still hang
on my inert frame
my narrow fingers wander and rip
tugging at the roots
of my insecurities
and stagnant fears
as if to pull out the plugs
in the dike-walls
bracing against the ocean
of my roiling emotion

My weeping spirit turns its feathered head
towards the chirping
outside my window
inclined to flit there
among the suet and shit
of natural life cycles
among kin
repulsed by the quiver and chirp
of black plastic technology
stoic aliens of metal and glass
dictating in the other room

There is a graying panther sprawling there
who should be my soothing mantle
my muse-mirror
my medium
to wild soul
instead she vise-locks around my forearm
all twenty claws extracted
and bites me fierce

In an hour they’ll pry open my birth canal
with massive steel tongs
stab my puckered pink cervix with needles
coaxing her to yield and fall open
like a green flower blooming out of season
a foreign invasion of my fruit
a metallic alien expedition on Venus
reconnaissance mission
to scout and root out hostiles
in my dying womb
the intel is inconclusive
the whisper of Weapons of Mass Destruction
may be but rumor
yet the risk lingers

Do I go to war under false pretenses
invoking Mars
coerce diplomacy

or try listening differently
as Venus speaks?

The to-do list drip insignificants
suspended in a false sense of urgency

Today is a good day for poetry.

© S. Rinderle, 2014