University of Toronto's Poet in Community

Protest at College Park: What Kind of Problem?

January 16, 2013 · No Comments

At 1:30pm today a group was gathered in College Park as I was walking past, and a frill of policemen in yellow stood around. I asked the story, and a tall one quipped: “an old real estate problem.” It took a flicker for me to say “is this an aboriginal protest?” I walked away, down to where they were pounding and singing, and I stood there.

But it made me so mad what he had said that I went back to tell him, who apologized, but only because he knew he should, not because he felt it. And I wish I’d asked: if the Nazis’ stealing gold from the teeth of Jews was an old dental problem; or the slave trade an old question of changing property values. I wish I could have reached up and punched him in his tall, white, handsome face so far removed from retribution that reproach was only a word from his boss. When he said he didn’t mean to be dismissive, I said it was to me, and if there were more like me perhaps he could consider. He was polite. Which he could afford to be. And so was I.

Ronna Bloom

Categories: Info · Poem of the minute

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