Nostalgia

I don’t miss the racism

When I think about the past

Sure I’m nostalgic for the good old days

But they weren’t all good and golden

We taunted everyone back then

Watercooler jokes bit deep

Certain nationalities were pilloried with regularity

Enough to fill a Polish suitcase

And god help the brown skinned

So we would shout paki or camel jockey slurs

Across schoolyards or cafes

Not caring that we cut to the quick with meanspirited ignorance

So blind to our transgressions that we would point fingers

At South Africa or the deep south and decry the bigotry there

Self righteously proclaiming our innocence

Only because an African heritage was rare in our tarnished world

I don’t miss the bad cooking

When the Joy of Cooking was the only book in the kitchen

We boiled and stewed the same plain foods into daily submission

Thinking salt and pepper were the only spices necessary against bland

And if we watched Julia Child with amusement

It would be a rare day that her recipes would end up on the table

I am not nostalgic for the constant smoking

Blue hazed offices where each desk held overflowing ashtrays ad nauseum

And parking lots being used as garbage cans

Drivers upturning car ashtrays into shared space

Cigarette butts a constant presence carpeting our walks

More prevalent than the flowers we couldn’t smell over the stench

I am not nostalgic for misogyny

Which sadly hasn’t gone away entirely

I don’t miss the catcalling taunts or times

When every man or boy felt dutybound to visually strip each female in view

Giving free rein to saddle romping fantasies

Those times when stereotypes were a given and not questioned

I don’t miss the hidden abuse

Open secrets never spoken of

Bruises that flowered unquestioned

Times when silence was permission to continue the violence

I am not nostalgic for pesticides that we sprayed with abandon

Not caring that the green lawns and flower borders

We so blindly protected were an artificial construct of oppression

I don’t miss polyester double knit suits

That never wore out but should have

I don’t miss blue rinsed big hair

Buzzcuts or ducktailed tops

I am not nostalgic for the pain of the repressed

Or laws that forced love into closets

Or into the bloodstained offices of back alley butchers

I don’t miss ignorant hatred

How can I, it still exists

But the next time somebody celebrates forgotten freedoms

Of a golden past

I’ll take up a knife and scratch the gilt off

To expose the brass

 

 

David Trudel   ©  2013

 

 

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