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Riding the ColorLine Bus

I have typically had the experience
of riding comfortably
on a polycultural,
including multi-generational,
populated bus.

But,
I also have memories
of stepping onto a subway
and not feeling I am welcome
by my fellow-alien riders.
And sometimes this goes OK,
and somewhere the line keeps going out dark
and darker
as I get whiter and
more mutually parasitic,
like haunted and hunting bugs
exploring each other’s piece of the pond,
sniffing fear and anger
about needs and eco-tribal identities,
or total defense against co-empathy.

I have walked into a Louisiana bus stop
with a brown-skinned friend
to soon notice
each of us would have been safer
checking in without knowing each other
than we were checking out as polycultural friends.

I’ve been on a NYC train
with my brown-skinned sons
and felt like they were more welcome
than I,
and other Connecticut way more welcome than they would have been
without me,
profiled by angry women of color
aggressive with those cellphones
aimed toward the police,
about my suspicious white man ways,
what business could I possibly have
with my own sons?

Actually,
now that I think about it,
we often shared this question.
How could we possibly have anything to do with
or without each other?

Whatever it is and has been,
it is ours to do and not do,
others to watch kindly,
if possible,
or not watch
with the courtesy we are learning together,
to continue exploring some other polycultural way.

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