Random Acts: a poem against racism

Poetry brings us together, slows us down, blows our minds like fluffy puffs of dandelion becoming airborne and dancing off in all directions.

In Mendocino county, poets gather in art galleries and hotel lobbies, after-hours in restaurants, and in friends’ living rooms. If we are lucky, poet/DJ/educator Dan Roberts shows up with his recording equipment and a few weeks or months later our words reverberate across the airwaves on his biweekly radio show, Rhythm Running River, via our local public broadcasting station, KZYX&Z.

A month ago I shared the recording of my poem “Meiosis/A Becoming,” a biologist’s celebration of the outrageous amazingness of our genetic couplings.

Last week, another poem along similar lines, “Random Acts,” joined a collection of powerful poems from Mendocino county, shared by authors and elders and beatniks and county poetry laureates.

“Random Acts” is a strike against racism, or any -ism that is “no fault of the zygote.” Dan has beautifully paired it with Johnny Clegg’s, “The Colour of My Skin.”

You can listen to the poem (spoken beginning Minute 10:00) streamed on this link, or you can read the words below.

AND!! You can subscribe to Rhythm Running River and savor live poetry all year long. Dan sends out emails prior to each show listing the line-up, and emails afterward with links to stream or download the entire show (it’s free and open access, but we all know that donating whatever we can keeps good things going).

Random Acts

A rowdy, juicy hook-up where

one microscopic sperm cell proves wilier than a million brethren.

Tints of iris, hair, outer epidermis a predetermined roulette: a roll of the sexy dice.

No fault of the zygote.

Each day our wafer-thin cell layers realign;

change shades, freckle, speckle, mottle, wrinkle, blister, dry out, slough off.

Our mutable pigmentation


“us”/“them” scientifically irrelevant; ethically ridiculous.

As if the hue of our flesh = the caliber, wakefulness, or evolution of our souls.

I crave universal blindness;

Hands over ears to unhear the minefield idiocy of words like

Albino White Redskin Colored Mulatto Black

given a thousand thousand other adjectives like

Altruistic Winsome Reliable Cordial Multifaceted Blessed

May we switch our senses to a different channel,

tuning into the wholeness, the likeness of one another.

We are people of good heart, or we are not.

Can we be more like X-rays, less like scanners?

May our eyes be transformed, our inner vision enhanced.

May we awaken to ask: what can we do with these gifts?

And, how can I love even more?

One thought on “Random Acts: a poem against racism

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