White City – a Poem about Racial Discrimination in South America
Jewel city of the Americas,
Pearl spun into stressed fabric of Andes life,
Where folks still sense silken whispers,
Glimpse, in memory, inlaid tortoiseshell haircombs,
Pompadoured raven locks of fine ladies,
curves of white cheekbones,
Sheepswool-white, pearl-white, cotton-white.
Long swallow-tail coats on gentlemen,
Imperious be-jewelled white fingers “SNAP”!
beckon for the lady’s fan.
Quechua slaves, dark brown, scurry, obey, eyes cast down.
Tiered stone mansions, spreading stairs,
An historic tapestry of old, white-washed buildings, red clay roofs, tiles,
textured, textiles, speckled – pink, blue, peach.
Deceptively spacious, these ornate estates
discreet behind massive carved doors,
In the streets OUTSIDE, hunkering on gray greasy pavement,
green-hued teeth chewing leaf,
(to kill the hunger pangs)
homespun striped ponchos, stained,
cover dark brown trembling skin.
A silent myriad Quechuas still sit,
lower gaze beneath stares of white men.