I don’t want a piece of the cake…

June 15, 2011 § 4 Comments

The Recipe

No reason to
Expect respect
You never gave
Me it before

You stroke my arm
Treat me as a child
You help yourself
Say you know best

Your kindly tone
Belies the truth
Your gratitude
Has attitude
At any rate
It’s all for you

While I should know
I am lucky
To get pity
Should be thankful
For a handful

You let me take
A slice of cake
Your recipe
Unshared with me

You live by rules
Entitled to
Believe they are
Applied the same
To me and you

And I have tried
To believe this lie
Swallowed each sigh
Inside myself
All my life

Now your surprise
That I go wild
Out of control
Of your control

You try to keep hold
Choose to dismiss
My anger blind
Myself unkind

The blame on me
For rejecting
All your offers
Of unity

Your offers that
Delete dissent
Refuse critique
Without comedy
Or calm relay

In any words
However said
You are content
To see yourself
As innocent

The world you know
Supports your view
So I suspect
You won’t take time
To self reflect

My rage is real
And justified
And every day
The world I knew
Including you
Compounds my view

I know that I
Can’t change the world
That includes you
But I can try
To change my world
To exclude you
As you did me
Though you don’t see

My sights are clear
All I expect
Is what I give
My self respect


I wrote the above poem in consideration of my many interpersonal relationships with people whom have not allowed space and understanding for my anger over institutional racism, that I see clearly reflected in the dynamics between us, yet they do not.

The poem references a quote by comedian Paul Mooney, “I don’t want a piece of the cake, I want the fucking recipe” from his stand-up CD ‘R A C E’ (1993). I realised after writing it, that race is not explicit in the poem. Several people have commented to me, after performing it at POC the MIC Sydney last weekend, that they heard it as reflective of their own lived experiences of oppression, not necessarily to do with race. I wrote it for those who share the frustrations of exclusion to do with race, but recognise that there are many oppressions that contribute to people experiencing anger about their alienation.


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§ 4 Responses to I don’t want a piece of the cake…

  • Jingle says:

    elegant title,

    self respect is worthy to have, keep it up.

  • gyn says:

    Overcoming exclusion by excluding! Fantastic!

    • Crystal Amber says:

      that is not at all what the piece is about, in my opinion. “Overcoming exclusion by excluding” is a gross way of interpreting what was written here. Not allowing cloaked racists to be apart of our inner worlds, and continue to bring negativity into it is what i believe the poem is saying. Obviously is it saying that the dominant world is white and privileges those experiences and opinions that white people have, to not only the exclusion but the denial of experiences and opinions that goes against this dominance. And furthermore, separate spaces need to be created in which experiences which arent given validity can be recognised and shared. And yes, this includes excluding white people. Think women’s spaces if this concept is difficult for you to grasp.

  • Its cheap and easy to point fingers at the squeaky wheel. Its so easy to blame the victims of racism when they speak up. But that is clearly the reaction of someone who is unaware of their pain. It is the reaction of a seriously wounded and f***ed up person.
    When the oppressed speak up, they are not quietly eating the shit sandwich handed to them. But their silence does no one any good. Question yourself, “why do I resent someone not politely and quietly eating shit?” What shit were you forced to eat? In what ways have you been terrified of being marginalized? Only someone who has been hurt by authority, and still blames themselves (not the authority figures who harmed them) would express such blithe, blind reactions against someone who has been victimized.

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