Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

On the Runway

by Nancy Woo

The reason why I don’t clean
or fix my car, and then drive
around Belmont Shore looking
smug with taillights smashed
and duct tape mirrors gaping
at the fluffed white people
shopping is because I might want
them to be offended by my
poorness. I learned this in
4th grade when I would, without
fail, walk into my Gifted And
Talented Education classroom--
where smart kids go to be told
they’re smart—in Orange County—
where the envious go to flourish
in their hive cement sidewalks—
15 minutes late every day, creaking
open the door to teacher already
talking, interrupting, because
my mother, worn out and coffee-fixed,
could never fit a schedule,
it was her subtle way of resisting
her tug-a-long fate—at least she could
rebel against time—and usually
my clothes were dirty or old or
hand-me-downs friends’ mothers
who pitied me gave me, and here
I learned how to walk in this rag
fashion show kind of way, quiet but
smiling that smile like I was saying
yeah, look at me, look at the isness
of my difference, I’ll strut on in
when I want and grin until
you believe I am grinning, smirk
wide like I am better than you for
knowing what poverty feels like.


  1. Wow--I wish I had had this kind of audacity when I was homeless; I would have kicked royal patootie!!! Brave and very creative poem!!!! Yea!!!

  2. Thank you Niama! I have no doubt you have a lot of brave stories in you :-) I look forward to seeing them come out