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Kathy Kubik

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Cold Comfort
by Kathy Kubik
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Rated "PG13" by the Author.
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This poem is dedicated to Ruby Bridges and is in honor of Black History Month.


COLD COMFORT


The waitress whispers
"Nigger"
when I demand hot coffee
instead of the icy sludge
she’s served.

I feel right at home.

Rewind to my first day of school,
thirty years past,
the only black on white.

I tug at my white cotton dress.
My Sunday best, that Mama ironed and starched with love,
as she sang.

I leave the snug house slowly,
my heart racing;
a crowd forms a line,
their heads small dots on white strips of candy.

Four armed men escort me,
safe in their shadows,
into William Frantz Elementary.

Sheltered from the angry mob,
words swell like tumors:
Nigger. Coon. Spook. Spade.
Confetti of spit, tomatoes and rotten eggs
rains down.

A girl my age holds a black doll in a coffin;
this image will haunt me for years.

Safely through the doors,
I walk into a classroom empty -
and start to learn.

Now I sip warm coffee,
cold comfort.

Some things never change.
 

The Ruby Bridges story

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Reviewed by Candy T (Reader) 3/1/2006
a fine piece.

the more things change, the more they stay the same (sadly)
Reviewed by Regis Auffray 2/25/2006
Thank you for the lesson, Kathy. Love and peace to you,

Regis
Reviewed by Phyllis Jean Green 2/23/2006
God, what a thing to go through. You make it all too real, Kathy. . .as is only right. Beautiful, beautiful job; shameful, shameful situation. I salute your courage!! I will never forget the way the two pre-adolescent girls who had been grudgingly admitted into a formerly all-white school in Pittsboro, NC., trembled as I stumbled through an explanation of the hearing tests I was there to administer. Having been subjected to boos, hisses, glares -- God knows what else -- they sat looking everywhere but at me. I wanted to cry. As the school system's speech therapist, it was my privilege {if a great challenge physically} to work in every school in the county. Otherwise, there was NO integration of teaching staff. I don't know how long it went on, but the situation was the same when I left three years later. Thank you for using your
talent -- which is awesome+++ -- to educate and tug at the public
conscience. Not that you do it for thanks. Just don't know how else to express my admiration. You are nothing less than a phenomenon!! 'Pea' <3 ~~~PS: Having submitted poetry to littles and literaries for nearly two decades, I know how difficult it can be to break into publications such as the Mississippi Review {hope I am remembering right}, and others that have featured your work. Takes more than talent. Takes dedication!! Hard work and perseverance!!! B R A V A !!!!!!!!!
Reviewed by Elizabeth Taylor (Reader) 2/23/2006
It takes courage to make change. I'm reminded of something Jim Brown the football star said and I paraphrase..."It takes revolutionaries to make change, every generation needs them."

A really thoughtful tribute.
Reviewed by Jerry Bolton (Reader) 2/23/2006
Yes . . . things . . . have . . . changed, and for those who don't want to believe that things have change are walking around with blinders on, or are seeing what they want to see no matter the reality. Is everything perfect? No. It will never be. But . . . things . . . have . . . changed.
Reviewed by Felix Perry 2/23/2006
I found this deeply disturbing which is not a bad thing as it's impact tells so much of what it is really like to be a target of racism. I was a racist, in some regards I may still be. However I am learning to overcome my racism and it is through education. Not the kind you learn in school but the kind you learn from living, talking, sharing and laughing with the very ones years of brainwashing had taught us as kids were inferior to us. There is hope. Each generation learns less and less from the racists before them and more and more from the real people beside them. I hope this make some kind of sense to you and that it doesn't sound like I am a complete idiot rambling on and on. I am saving this piece and hope to use to spread your message if you don't mind.

Felix
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 2/22/2006
Kathy,

Shattering write. I would hope we have grown past that, but some things haven't changed. Prejudice still rears its ugly head, especially in these uncertain times. Thank you for penning this powerful tribute to Ruby.

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.
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