Complexions of Being

We are complexions of being,
gradations of actualization.
Our nature coming to be or passing away,
Aristotle wrote.

Mere complexions of being,
gradations of ontology.
In every American thing we claim to know,
Pigment is the currency,
Our petty underlying divisor,
Our pixelated property.
The color line preserves white privilege.

We are complexions of being,
gradations of realization.
From The Age of Enlightenment
followed the epoch of enslavement,
Our white patriots traded in commodified skins,
Learning how an emboldened empire wins,
Learning how merchants on the take use race.
So their destiny was manifest,
Genocide was their bequest.

In their path, all traces of different races
Necessarily disappeared,
The indigenous people they feared.
Hunted, murdered, and jeered,
White entitlement forgot them all and moved on.

We are complexions of being,
gradations of sentience.
Quickly unraveling before breakfast,
Whites come alive, staggering like air dancers,
Inflated gas bags thrashing, and lurching,
At their dealerships, certain something sensational
Is happening somewhere.
The reasons never explicated,
The false complexion dichotomies
will never transfer power.
Until there is no white or black,
Until we are gradations of one,
Until we see our shades of immanence.

Thomas Wells’s forthcoming poetry book “Complexions of Being,” is scheduled for publication by Yorkshire Publishing. His poetry credits also include Caesura Journal, PS: It’s Poetry, a poetry anthology, Dissident Voice, The Magnolia Review, The Opiate Journal, and Tuck Magazine. His poetry has won contest awards. Over the decades, his poetry has appeared in small journals including Visions International, Cafeteria, Gargoyle, and West End Magazine. In 1982, he published a chapbook of poetry titled "Native Steel" available from Black Buzzard Press. Read other articles by Thomas.