Some people


The families in magazines all have straight teeth even the babies

and white carpets and ecru furniture.

Even the dog basket is ecru.

They pad around barefoot in teeshirts in winter

and they smile so hard their teeth must hurt.

They wear white to paint the ceiling and repair the lawnmower.

They cook things that only require stirring

in bare feet and white shirts

and they eat at a table of arctic whiteness.

Mother stands by proudly, wearing ecru oven gloves

and smiles to see them enjoying their banana and grated carrot salad.

The baby gets a smear of banana on his face.

They all laugh

and take his picture to send to the grandparents

who have never seen a baby with a smear of banana on his face.

Their cuteness excruciates.

I wonder where they live

and is it in some gated community

so they never get bricks through their windows

and the little girl with long blonde hair

doesn’t have to got to a school

where she has to sit next to a kid with nits and a bruised face

that she might touch with gentle fingers to sooth away the pain

and later because the smiling teeth don’t understand

sob herself to sleep in her white-sheeted bed.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

21 thoughts on “Some people”

  1. Why so angry Jane?
    Smiling as I am reading your poem, sitting in a cold house in an old pair of jeans and flannel shirt, shivering as the guy who is working on some repair work kept the front door ajar.

    1. I’m just generally angry about social injustice and the way this lifestyle is presented as normal and attainable to people who, like the parents of the battered child, it is manifestly barred.

      1. Being angry hurt us personally but nothing happens to the system we are angry about. There was a time when I used to think I was a misfit for this world, may be I would have been more in tune with a different world. But as days have gone by and I have aged, I am realizing that the world will not change for me nor I need to change for the world. That does not prevent me from saying what I have (perceived) as injustice. Even if ten people read and like what I have to say, that’s ten more than none. Individually I may account for nothing but combined a day will come when our voices will be heard.
        Hope I am making some sense in what I wrote.

      2. As a woman, I have never deluded myself that I’d have been better off in a different time/world. And I don’t imagine that I have the power to change one iota. The people who do have that power though don’t use it. They line their pockets, make life nice and easy for themselves and bugger the rest. All of them. Stick your head over the parapet and it will get shot off. That’s humanity for you. We are a waste of space.

  2. Oh my golly gosh Jane, I laughed so loud reading this. Where did this come from? Sometimes watching TV I wonder why everyone is so happy in those commercial, smiles all the time, families laughing, having the time of their life. It infuriates me. Nothing real about it.
    Anyway, this is a fabulous write.

    1. It seems unreal but it must be a model to aspire to or advertisers wouldn’t use it/have created it. I bet there are people like that, but they only ever invite people exactly like themselves into their homes, so perhaps you and I would never know 🙂

      1. We wouldn’t know, so artificial, no way would I ever be attracted to this.

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