Thursday, January 5, 2017

The High Cost of Dry Cereal: An Exercise in Casual, Everyday Bigotry

The High Cost of Dry Cereal

By David Hartley Mark

For A. & His Family

                                                I have a dear friend
                                                But I only know him online from a photo
                                                Still, I wish I could buy him a cup of coffee.

                                                I believe that he is Middle Eastern or Southwest Asian in origin,
                                                Judging (and this may well be stereotyping,
                                                But I hope he will forgive me)
                                                From his photo, and his name;
                                                Not that any of this should matter,
                                                For I strive to judge people as individuals,
                                                But it is crucial to the following story—

He speaks and writes in beautiful English
                                                And is undoubtedly benefiting our Country in innumerable ways
                                                By his professional work,
                                                Whatever the subject happens to be

                                                Which is really none of your business
                                                Because he’s my friend, not yours
                                                And Americans have the right to privacy

                                                I believe he has small children
                                                Which is a wonderful thing
                                                And they also speak perfect English
                                                And are growing up American
                                                With American privileges and values
                                                And rights and benefits
                                                That we all enjoy

                                                And for which thousands
                                                If not millions
                                                Have given their lives in battle
                                                Throughout various wars and conflicts
Our Country has engaged in
Over the course of centuries….

                                                My friend was in his local supermarket,
                                                Ironically located in Our Nation's Capital City,
                                                Shopping with his small children,
                                                “His kiddos,”
                                                A sweet name for little ones,
                                                Which many of Us Americans
                                                Share when referring to
                                                Our Beloved Children,
                                                Regardless of their
                                                Race, Creed, Color, or National Origin;

                                                When they entered the
                                                “Breakfast Foods” aisle—

                                                Little Children love
                                                Breakfast Food,
                                                Especially Dry Cereal,
                                                And a great many
                                                TV Commercials
                                                Focus on selling it to them,
                                                And children learn
                                                By asking their parents
                                                Which is how they learn,
                                                And these children are Very Bright

                                                (Though certainly, no more, no less,
                                                Than your children and grandchildren,
                                                Dear Reader)

                                                “Dad,” said his little girl, “There’s a box that says
                                                ‘Lucky Charms.’ What’s that?”

                                                My friend, the little girl’s father, was about to answer,
                                                But he turned around,

                                                “Only to be greeted
                                                By the glaring stares of
                                                Other patrons.”

                                                (My Friend’s Exact Words)

                                                I ask you, Reader:

                                                Where’s the harm
                                                In a Little Girl
                                                Asking her father
                                                About a Cereal?

                                                Have we fallen so far
                                                So fast
                                                Into the Pit of Hell and Suspicion?

                                                Is our Distrust of “Foreigners”
                                                And “Non-Americans”
                                                So deep and unfathomable
                                                That we cannot Bridge the Gap?

                                                I wonder.
                                                I worry.
                                                I wish for better
                                                For the torn, bleeding Soul
                                                Of this America,

                                                And I hope that those little children
                                                (Children of Aleppo
                                                (Children of Somalia
                                                (Children of Pakistan
                                                (Children of Kurdistan
                                                (Children of Iraq
                                                (Children of Afghanistan
                                                (Children of Turkey
                                                (Children of

                                                (Your Children
                                                (My Children
                                                (Our Children….

                                                Will be Safe,
                                                In the Coming Year

                                                Of 2017

                                                In This America
                                                Our Beloved Country

                                                …And I still don’t know
                                                If his kids ever got
                                                To taste the Splendor
                                                Of our All-Native-American Breakfast Cereal,

                                                Lucky Charms

                                                As is their Right
                                                And Privilege
                                                In this Nation
                                                With Liberty
                                                And Justice
                                                For All