Poetry: to bear false whiteness by Stella Wong
In “to bear false whiteness,” the speaker offers a complex yet defiant look at the expansion of whiteness, colonialism, and racism in the media, history, and culture. In a justified tone, the speaker denounces said forces and their toxic authority.
to bear false whiteness
–after bunte götter — die farbigkeit antiker skulptur
as a programmer, it’s that time of year
again to re-decolonialize google,
and other western diseases.
the search engineers history
itself, and this one’s a chronic
labyrinth where the hero is the antihero
and the cloistered beast is white too.
of course, the heroine sells out
the patriarch for the patriarchy. classic
supply and demand, more, amore, a moray
eel. speaking of race
to the bell, the lecturer’s jaw unhinges,
and no one bothers to school her; the greeks
had colored gods
with compounds built from ground jewels and burnt bone,
who were stripped by plebian archeologists
of their war paint. whitewash the profane
and call it sacred.
curricula is a white
people’s squeaky neon yellow highlight
reel and then some
didn’t realize some
had Othered time
lines drawn in other countries’ sands
bound in linen and lemon, not just
pterodactyls, wooly mammoths and the few monstrous
world wars (and fallout).
it’s been a minute
but she needs to lay off the chemicals
for her newest homeopathic therapy;
none dyed, no making up—
clothes leeched of assured color, white hair,
white eyelashes. the first positive ghost.
some more white bull.
Stella Wong is a poet with degrees from Harvard and the Iowa Writer's Workshop. Wong's poems have appeared in Poetry, Colorado Review, Bennington Review, Narrative, Poetry Northwest, and the LA Review of Books. She is the author of AMERICAN ZERO (Two Sylvias Press, 2018) and SPOOKS (Saturnalia Books, 2022).