Can the Neo-Colonialist Writers Shut Up? Thank You in Advance – Eunsong Kim

What follows is a translation2 of the poem in question.

“A Brief for the White Defense”3

Sorrow everywhere unless you’re white. Slaughter everywhere on white televisions to keep us bright.

If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else not white????? With flies in their nostrils????
But we enjoy our lives because that’s what God wants!!!!!
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine???? The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well??? The poor non-white women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness brought by colonial and neocolonialism
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick—probably I’m totally guessing I don’t know anyone here.
There is laughter

2 For those that need a guide to this translation:

  • The words in italics/parenthesis are my translation of the missing adjectives/nouns
  • Punctuation has been inserted to highlight the absurd politics/affect of the poem
  • Believe it or not, the rest of the work is not made up. They are the words of Jack Gilbert.

3 This translation was inspired by “When ‘Life Hacking’ Is Really White Privilege,” an essay by Jen Dziura. Dziura found a blog filled with life tips from a white hedge fund manager and rewrote his posts with the words “if you’re white” or “because you’re white” to point out how all of his life tips are basically a confession of his white privileges.

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Eunsong Kim is a writer, researcher and educator mostly residing in San Diego. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in: Minnesota Review, Iowa Review, Seattle Review, Tinfish, Denver Quarterly, DIAGRAM, The Margins and others. Feel free to tweet her @clepsydras. For more: www.eun-song.org.

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