“Reparations Metric Ending in Assisted Schadenfreude “
I have subscribed Poetry Foundation for a long time, and this November issued poem connects well to what we learned in class. This is a poem written by Marcus Wicker, and it depicts the trauma left by centuries of slavery to their descendants.
At the beginning of this poem, Wicker quotes a line from Ben Shapiro, that “It is impossible to come up with a fair metric for recompensing slavery ten generations after slavery’s end.” This is closely connected to unit 1 and unit 4, in which we talked about identity and racial injustice. In class, we shared our own experiences of exclusions in our hometowns; we talked about how religions contributed to racial division; we also thought through the question that how can the privileged group make up to the racial groups who have suffered for centuries. And as Shapiro said here, to the inferior racial groups, nothing could be done to actually compensate for their past trauma, but the privileged group can still strive for the equal rights today, and let the trauma exist no more.
Reparations Metric Ending in Assisted Schadenfreude
BY Marcus Wicker
It is impossible to come up with a fair metric for recompensing slavery ten generations after slavery’s end.
—Ben Shapiro, Fox News
What apple, which conquistador
oats? Which ruby red
moat, what filet of bartered goat?
Which glazed carrot caught your nose,
drew you into the station
w/ blinders on? Horse’s ass.
Quaffed cad. Whatdoya call a
property tax on a revolving
accessory? What’s a loan
w/o a lessor, B? Which of these
eventualities is not like the other—free
& clear from the shattering / a mast
of tears makes / when it fractures /
scalpels away / silt / clean off
a runaway cliff,
before gashing the quarry w/ after-
shot? I’ll take my safety net in breakneck
class action union wage annuity checks
from Ancestry.com, 23 & Everybody
Who’s Made a Killing Trafficking
in Families & Trees. Run me my knot,
Money. Untie my limbs. Underwrite
the court costs, plus notary fees
to petition my change of surname.
Now multiply that expense by a modest
interest rate accrued over 154 summers,
give or take. Or strap weights
to your ankles / go float in a lake.
Source: Poetry (November 2019)