The White Working Class by Ally Malinenko

Maybe it’s the rationalizing
that bothers me the most
the instant hop that so many
took when things didn’t work out
the way we wanted
the way we planned
the way the polls
promised.

It was not into ourselves that we looked
nor to women
or people of color
not to the marginalized
the silenced
the persecuted
or our long long racist history
but instead

it was to the white men
the working class
the ones paying their taxes
and apparently not being heard.

The real hardworking people
that like to think they built this nation.

We have a deaf ear, America
tuned to the same old channel
spewing white supremacy
the fallacy of the over franchised
cloaked as disenfranchised

and all I hear
when you say
what about our jobs
is that is more important
than brown bodies
more than queer bodies
more than women’s bodies
more than immigrant’s bodies

that white people
and their economics
matter more than
any other people
and their economics

Except I know that
when the millstone
grinds all of us to dust
the powder left behind,
the work and labor
the back breaking
pain and tears and suffering
generation after generation,
when the bones of this nation
are revealed

they will not be white.

Ally Malinenko

Ally Malinenko is the author of the poetry collections The Wanting Bone, How To Be An American and Better Luck Next Year as well as the novel This Is Sarah. She lives in the part of Brooklyn the tour buses don’t bother with.

 

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