I love being white. I love my whiteness.
When I was younger, for a while, for a few years,
all I did was mow our yard. We owned 5 acres.
5 acres which had to be mown. I mowed them,
the 5 acres. But, silly boy, you will say, how lucky
of you to have lived in a house with 5 acres.
Trust me, when you have to mow 5 acres of brush
and rock and ditches with a push mower, you
will wish your yard was smaller.
I once asked my dad, could we PLEASE
get a riding mower. My dad said no.
My father said, you want a riding mower,
you want to sit on a mower
and drive while mowing the yard,
you want to mow like a NASCAR driver,
work for the privilege. Work. Work hard.
So I worked hard. I mowed that yard, hard.
I became my own hard mowing machine.
I pushed that mower and, by the time
I finished one side of the yard, the other side
had already grown out. And I had to start,
to start again, my life was an infinite loop
with no recursion, my summer life,
my autumn life, an endless loop,
Fall brought out the colors and the leaves.
I saw none of the beauty. I saw leaves to rake
and a yard to mow. Spring.
Spring bred the lilacs out of the dead ground.
Spring also bred a tan. A glorious,
beautiful tan, and another year when I begged
for a lawn tractor.
Nobody owes you a thing, my father taught me,
And you will learn to protect and maintain
every speck of dirt you can call your own.
You will feel the fear in a handful of dust.
I think I will, I think I shall
write entire verses
of the time I went to Sears
to buy a cheap Craftsman riding mower
and of the time I damaged the blade deck
with the first rock I hit.
Necessity breeds ambition
as well as invention. I became an expert
lawn tractor mechanic. Harsh lessons
needed with the purchase
of my first used car.
Oh my glorious tan, my tanned shoulders,
the lean frame of my body in those days,
my body which wooed the girls
when they would touch my flat stomach
and look up into my eyes at night,
a night following a day
of mowing my yard all day,
I hear the whiners,
The Kvetchers kvetching
and bitching about whiteness
and how the white man holds them down.
I love being white.
I love being fat.
I have earned that pride