I’m not a racist, but…

Just for interest, and hopefully to encourage people to give it a go even without heaps of practice, here’s me having my first go at this poem infront of the very friendly crowd at what is now West Side Poetry Slam.  It’s clumsy, and at times so clunky I can’t bear to watch it ever again, but people still laughed. With me, I think.

Can a white guy make a serious point about racism while making people laugh?
Aylin and Defne let me find out at their slam in Parramatta, and it seemed the answer was yes! It also went fine at the Bellingen Poetry Slam, as I expected because most people knew me and would give me the benefit of the doubt.
But when I realised I was about to give it at the APS national final at the Sydney Opera House, where other poets were doing full on poems about their actual experiences of racism, I was more terrified than before my first ever slam, in-fact before my first ever public talk.
I could imagine the silence of 400 people not laughing.
But as the panic set in I couldn’t make myself remember any of my other poems, so the choice was run away, or run on stage.
And they laughed!
The white bums and brown bums and yellow bums too!

I’m not a racist, but…
I’ve got a racist butt
Its super white. It’s full of shit.
As much as I can I try to ignore it.
It’s just kind of there, getting through the day
With a lot of weight to bear
And nothing pleasant to say.
Just the occasional rumble and letting off a little steam
Nothing really worth contesting, or so it seems to me

But every now and then my racist bottom goes too far
Out comes a roiling torrent of turds
More offensive than a whitelivesmatterstoo hashtag
and nearly as absurd
But, I decided to believe that my bottom could be changed
Maybe if I tried really hard, I might
Get my butt to see the light
So I showed my butt the light,
I showed it all round Paramatta
‘til a cop said “That’s not right!”
“Put that butt away I say- put it away right now!”
But how
will it change if it stays in the dark
With no sense of autonomy
With no better job prospects, than making lots of little jobbies?
How will my brown eye see
that other brown eyes aren’t the enemy?
That bottoms of all shapes and sizes are being deceived

Because those in control don’t want them free-
As they were in days of old.

Days when bums of all colours roamed free, not hidden away.
With the sun on their face lighting up their bum smiles
As they rippled with muscle from walking for miles.
Hunting antelope, mammoth, reindeer and roo
And from squatting when they felt like it
To let out the poo.
Brown bums and white bums and yellow bums too
Their colour dictated by their need to
Absorb vitamin B
You see
That’s no basis for discrimination.
How much sun shone in your ancestors’ nation
We all bleed red blood
We all poo brown poo
(unless there’s something wrong with you)
So all you bottoms gathered here-
Give a flatulent cheer!
No longer will the squishy stuff up top control you
Or pit you against the other bottoms gathered here beside you
They look down on you- they dare?!
When all the racist homophobic misogynistic shit comes from up there?
You may have the anus but the brain is the arsehole!
Take back your sphincter, take back control!
Say no more, “I’m not a racist, but…”
Say simply, “I’m not a racist butt!”

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