Full Blooded Italian Boy

Full Blooded Italian Boy – by hakim bellamy

Full Blooded Italian Boy
Son of a good ol’
God fearin’, Godfather, Got’dam ma that’s some killa pasta
Italian papa
And a momma

With a mother
Who at one time or another
Considered her daughter a stray
From victim of a cum bucket
Comes little brother
Momma the target of a dishonorable discharge…

And this is his family
A palette of pigment and prejudice
Promise and piss
Poor and rich
In the way only lower-middle-lower class families can be

He says
“Probably because I am white”
In response to his mother’s question of why this brown bully beats on him
Eye swollen so he can’t see the institutional implications within him
Even with 20/20 his clear skin invisible
Until now

 “All the Mexican kids at my school hate white people”
And for a moment
I was offended…as though he was trying to position himself on the ledge
In a history of gangs of brothers and sisters that can barely un-repress
Untold, barely un-whispered biographies of self-mutilation and suicide
Autobiographies of shirts and ‘skins, cowboys n Indians, black and brown
More than blue and red, never white…

Until they surrender to it.
I was a bit bothered at his naïve attempting to
Position his self in the sympathy of the oppressed…

Then I remembered that
There’s a time between 8 and 18 where we all live in margins
Where waking up is an act of emancipation
And we get punished unjustly because we too closely resemble
Runaway fathers, those that got the best of us or picked on us
Those who pickpocketed the jobs we forgot about until they were gone
They remind us that our supposedly great, great grandparents were liars and thieves not     heroes and founders, BECAUSE
They don’t look like us

Maybe they didn’t know he had a brother who will be as brown as them
Maybe they don’t know he speaks Spanish better than some of them do
Maybe they don’t know that prejudice, bigotry and bullying can go both ways even if     racism cannot
Just the same way, full blooded “I”talian boy didn’t know that big brown bullies learn     how to hate, punish, push around and profile…
From people that look just like him
Only bigger, older, sometimes badge, sometimes suit
Sometimes gavel, sometimes future-in-laws, even over their dead bodies…

And if I wasn’t so speechless,
I would have tried something like this

“Big Brother?
know your baby brother is born with a beautiful shade of brown
That might defy crayon boxes but never the long arm of the law
That only knows good and bad, right and wrong, black and white
He’ll fall on the same side as that bully more often than not
Where the sidewalks wear bigger cracks than the ones on your side of the street
And it’s not fair!

There are some things brothers can’t share
And I’m sorry
That bully’s punch broke your rose colored glasses
If I could take it back I would…

But then, I’d never know why
I took offense before I became sympathetic
It was because I dodge bullies all day everyday in this world
My skin is a kick me sign sometimes…

But just like you
And me, everyday
It doesn’t make me want to be any other color
Just sorry…for them

And I guess
For a moment
I was jealous

Of your pity party so evident in your forgone conclusion
“Cause you’re white”
For the first time in your life
When for me…
“Oh, it’s cause I am black” became as common at 10 years old as “I don’t know”
And usually you don’t
But this time you did
And I suppose me and your mother’s job is to teach you how to grow from it but…

I don’t know.

© Hakim Bellamy March 20, 2009 (Revised June 22, 2010)