Most privileged people don’t think they are privileged.
Everyone thinks they are struggling. It’s probably true, being human with a knowledge of finite existence and an exaggerated, and frankly unnecessary, awareness of other people’s awareness of you does funny things to the mind. We may all be struggling, but it doesn’t mean we all have an equal number of obstacles to face. It can be easy to mock safe spaces if you have lived in one all your life, I know I have. It doesn’t mean people haven’t had a go at me, but that is because of what came out of my mouth, not based on how I came out of the womb. I worked on this for one of my Edinburgh shows, but it never made it in. It should almost have the rhythm of a poem, but I am quite new to all this.
Nobody notices the privilege of nobody noticing you…
I went to check my privilege
the other day
it took longer than I thought
it didn’t seem quite fair
that I had to do it myself
isn’t there someone smaller to do it for me?
but I persevered.
I sweated through my advantages,
wondered how the other half lived.
It’s a big half.
I suppose they’ll blame me
just because of my superiority.
Sat alone in the pub,
no one came to flirt with me
despite my singularity
No one thought, “I know what he wants!”
Unless they were thinking…
“He wishes this pub was a bookshop too”
And I do.
No one thinks “he’s lonely” and…
if they do…
the grey face man
hand on pint
nose in book
leave him to his solitude
no “cheer up”
no “might never happen”
which is good
because I know it will
that’s many worlds theory for you
not even a “what are you reading?”
Which is a pity
it’s a very good book
(Eimear McBride’s The Lesser Bohemians)
and I’d be happy to recommend.
No small talk
with a hope for sex talk,
safe in the corner
for the lone drinking man.
Solitude is not a presumed cry for attention
a hand on a knee
a messy flash dream
a double duvet fantasy
I have time to check my privilege because
My oddities are brain deep
not on skin show
I Can Hide My self under my knitwear.
(Well, perhaps slight breast, I have let myself go a little bit)
pinkish in a pinkish world
I am allowed to be…
a little weird
for I am not attached to any other eccentricity
“we’re all allowed one weird”
that’s what Alice told me
and being pale
and middle class
I can choose my weird to be quite simply
that I am a little weird
Alice is a woman
So she’s weird down from the start
and then, on top of that
her thoughts have a habit
of tilting towards weirdness
and she will not keep them in
she turns them into things
that makes her double weird
too weird for some
My cardigan is a little tight around the top
but no one thinks, “dressing for attention”
Just “silly bugger put it on the hot wash”
when hand in hand with my wife
I never thought of a sudden boot
or a car shouted abuse
boarding the train
I didn’t sense bodies tightening
with fear, suspicion or sense of threat
despite my powerful librarian build.
I rarely read tattoos that have a message
for “someone like me”
The store detective doesn’t bother to take out his brain pen
to make a mental note of me
No food worries as a child
Though pineapple on the gammon was a chore.
I checked my privilege the other day
and it took so long
which seems so unfair
but I stayed strong
it’s the white middle class man’s burden
but i try
and I try
and I try
to smile through it .
The wine helps.