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

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).

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