who stood at the front counter.
you hastily tapped your left foot, virulently oscillating the pupils
in your eyes waiting for a patron.
You were self-absorbed in your patriotic posture,
thirstily glimpsing through the tables.
Your wife surreptitiously explored the saloon
stocked with pub glasses
and rare etched glass from the back wall.
“The Redskins are working harder than they usually do!” she snidely yelled.
She adored the Country vocalists
who angrily lip synced Johnny Rebel covers --
I'd take from Uncle Sam and let the White man pay
if I could be a nigger for a day
the White man worries, the nigger don't care,
cause at the end of the month his check will be there.
Five minutes passed on,
and I saw a Native waiter assist you.
You sat in your seats; I wasn’t too far away.
Your wife was right at your side.
She smiled. Her teeth shone
as bright as Klux hoods.
You gestured a snarky grin and
looked up from three tables over,
glaring at the top of my flat, bushy hair
“Did I frighten you?
I peeked my Brown eyes
above the seat, a few inches
in front of me and
saw the stiff, blond ends of your crew cut.
You grasped oppressive visions.
They submerged in your drowning eyes,
leering your hatred at my skin burning!
Less of a human I was to you, wishing: that I have my flesh
gorged in a black river of crocodile,
weighed down by a metal neck collar,
castrated because I looked at
Your eyes moulded my Black being
into a faceless alien you weaponized!
You tried to control your rage
but channeled it,
depicting White Supremacists
circling around me, laughing at my demise!
Your Blue irises then drifted from the Brown of mine.
I timidly looked down at my pamphlet
trying to relax, salivating, hoping to
scarf chicken fresco, a shrimp platter
flaking in honey barbecue sauce
filling up my famished stomach.
“Did I frighten you?
I spotted your curious eyes lurking
when I leveled my eyes with yours--
Your scorning colonized my curiosity
into submission, I looked down
in obedience like Uncle Tom.
“You worthless coon.
Go back to Africa, where you belong.”
You scoffed at my Ochre irises
with vainglorious pride.
Ten seconds after our eyes crossed
you bitterly flickered your eyelashes
jerked your head, took a deep breath, and inhaled
The Native waiter cautiously approached you
asking you and your wife for your orders.
How did you look your clerk in the eye?
His eyes were Brown, Brown like mine, Brown as loamy soil
slaved in the grounds--
Oh! They’re glazed by the same Blue
embodying the willful ignorance embedded in you.
I know, but I can’t understand why.
Your eyes are Blue, but please change them Brown.
Look at me with Respect,
stop looking down.
Patrick J. Derilus is a third-year student at SUNY New Paltz University majoring in English with a Creative Writing concentration and a minor in Philosophy. He writes poetry, narrative fiction, memoir, and essays, and is currently working toward earning a BFA in Creative Writing.
Patrick I used to draw a lot as a child and make fiction stories out of his favorite cartoon shows. His junior year of high school, his Human Relations teacher asked if he could write a poem about the summer. The poem was four lines long. She encouraged him to write and he has continued writing poetry for 7+ years. He has also experimented with other writing forms including: screenwriting, songwriting, short stories, novellas, flash fiction, traditional fixed forms of poetry (sestina, sonnet, ode, pantoum), essays, and memoirs.