Jennifer Fendya and
Jenny Forrester

Jennifer Fendya
Jenny con mala
Response

Jenny Forrester
Inspiration piece

“Jimmy Si Malo” is at the mic. Gen-X. Claims he’s a millennial. White. CIS man.

He says, “The black man on the ground moans.” He kicks the air, says, “I kick and kick…” I look around the dark bar and Jimmy Si Malo kicks the air again, says, “and kick him.”

I feel sick.

Why, I think, do poet bros do this?

“Jimmy Si Malo” explained himself before he started, “I want to tell the truth. Men like me should be honest about what we’ve done.”

He animates his puppet-self, face-red-rage and a violent power. Brings his foot back. His work-booted foot. Kicks the air. Yells. “I kicked him and kicked him and kicked him.”

Why is he doing this? Can we stop this? Do we have to be polite here?

And he says, “My work boots.”

He’s telling us he’s working class signaling that someone who isn’t working class who tries to silence him will be shamed for stopping him. He’s claiming his working class-ness is what made him a violent racist.

His poem continues. Railroad tracks, night, rain. Smell the ash, the petroleum, the blood. Hear the groans. Hear them stop. But later in his poem, he says he’s not racist anymore. He’s something else that everyone mistakes for a racist hate group but is not a racist hate group.

It’s clear he wants us to believe it’s true that he did horrible, violent things, then transformed, that he feels terrible about it, that he’s brave for speaking it. It’s clear he wants it to be true. I know I’ll write him into something some day.

Another poet gets up and talks about her rape and he’s back in the audience whooping and hollering like he feels it, like he’s for her, like he’s on her side. Whooping. About rape. Her rape.

Later, on social media, he says he’s getting a college degree in fine arts, changes his name back to his given name. He posts on social media, “This bitch, this young white bitch in class…I had to tell her about her white privilege.” He said he yelled, “Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you,” until she cried and left the class. “White women,” he says, “White women and white feminists, fuck you.”

He says, “Fuck you, FUCK you, FUCK YOU!”

 

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