Sunday, January 23, 2011

Poets Responding to SB 1070


A poem worth reading by Matt Sedillo, from a facebook page entitled "Poets Responding to SB 1070."


Go forth woman
Carry your child
Not long to be a man
Into uncertainty
Flee the certain wreckage
Of broken promises
Of better tomorrows
That to be hated
To be hunted
Is still better
Than to starve


Johnny Ramirez
An immigrant kid
Who crossed over
With his mother
When he was six
Abandoned by his
Father when he was three
Always had it rough
Lived by the motto
If I don’t see the cops
Then I don’t see why not
Lived in a system
That offered him nothing
That taught him
He was unwanted
Without a record
But a criminal by birth
So why not earn the title
Things are tough in
Migrant America
Poverty wages
An imploding economy
ICE raids
It’s always
One thing or another
In this new country
This land of opportunity
There is always a new pain
To discover
A new way to slowly
Kill yourself and your mother
In the land of milk and honey
He had caused her so much pain
He who took refuge in gangs
In drugs in liquor
Belief that he was
An Aztec warrior
Fighting the Blacks
Fighting El Salvadorians
Fighting other Mexican kids
From other corners
Crossing them out
Like so many toy soldiers
Things were rough all over
For the children of the poor
When there aint no jobs
There aint no opportunity
So you join a gang
Like the US military
Leave your mother crying
As you promise her
A path to citizenship
A road to scholarships
A real future in this country
Johnny Ramirez remembered
That conversation well
As he lay wounded fatally
In Fallujah
A gang banger
Turned general issue soldier
Turned cannon fodder
Turned statistic
Turned propaganda
Turned bumper sticker
Support our troops
Or protect our borders
Either way one less hated Mexican wetback
Or one more honored brave American soldier
Who kill and die in wars
Who live and die by the sword
Because those
Were the only two options
Ever given
Turned piece of meat
Whose humanity
Is sacrificed
To the so called
Ways of the world
Turned turn the page
Turned the same old song
Johnny’s mind began to race
He thought of a little girl
He had seen years earlier
In the paper
Shot on the corner
Of Whittier blvd
How the shooter claimed
It was an accident
Johnny thought
How children of Iraq
Were called collateral damage
How he called them Hajis
How he convinced himself
Their deaths were necessary
How his squad leader
Convinced him
They were less than human
How he let himself be convinced
That maybe he deserved this
Maybe he had always
Wanted to deserve
Something like this
That life from birth
Had never been worth
The effort of his mother
To push him through
Was this finally it
Was this what it meant
To be an American
To kill and die
In this now God forsaken nation
Once the cradle of civilization
As a reckless child
In ancient temple
Like the hands of a broken stop watch
As history repeated itself
As an immigrant
A soldier
A poor kid
Who never had a chance
A Conquistador
Of home
His cousin’s low rider
And murals
Of Aztec Pyramids

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