Been thinking about the crap going down in Arizona? You need to read this. Wondering about all the fuss? You really need to read this.
has performed and published poetry since she arrived in Albuquerque in 1999. She also produced many poetry events including Mightier Than the Sword: Writers Address the Nuclear Age, and Some of My Best Friends Are Poets. Besides being a blues show host on KUNM and an active blogger
, she is published in the Harwood Anthology and Looking Back To Place. She served as adjunct faculty for UNM Valencia. She and her daughter will be reading at Church of Beethoven on Mother's Day, May 9th.
am i mexican? no
am i a citizen? yes
so why are my eyes welling up, arizona?
why is my stomach churned?
my soul disturbed?
you sent me back, arizona, on that cross-country trip
back to that stop in topeka
on a greyhound where i swear some white frat boys
from UNLV gave a girl a date rape drug the night before
one big guy's legs across the aisle
kept anyone from going back there
nothing was done.
but in the daylight in topeka
me in my blue chinese hat, a gift
some friends found at a flea market
covered in brightly-colored pins:
red stars, chinese flags, flowers, idyllic asian scenes
to me it was whimsical
to the two pistoled cops, sheriff K-9 unit on their buckles
white shirts, blue pants tucked inside their army boots
one with a shaved head--
that hat was nothing you could buy at k-mart
to them it shouted commie! chinese! illegal! suspect!
threat! up to no good!
so one demanded WHERE YOU FROM, HUH?
while the other rifled through my bags stuffed overhead
oh yeah, maybe the frat boys would have asked for
a search warrant but i answered politely as i could
heart pounding/cheeks flushed/gun inches from my head
WHERE DID YOU BOARD THIS BUS?
WHY WERE YOU IN COLORADO?
WHERE YOU GETTING OFF?
all the while snooping through my bags
like my clothes were contraband
finally satisfied that i spoke fluent english
carried no sayings of chairman mao
no materials to make a bomb
they moved on to their only other target:
YOU SPEAK ENGLISH? they demanded
YOU GOT A GREEN CARD?
WHERE'S YOUR GREEN CARD?
LET ME SEE YOUR GREEN CARD NOW!
yes yes yes
scrambling to retrieve it from his pocket trembling
white passengers kept reading or looking out the window
as if they didn't see or hear a thing
a few old african americans sat there tired, resigned,
expecting to be next/relieved they weren't this time
i watched from the window as he got off the bus next stop
heard him speaking spanish to the woman waiting
she all ears and upset eyes
someone said we know how fascist the government is
by how much we fear the police
funny how topeka is suddenly berlin
the star of david, pink triangle there
here it's your green card, your english and your papers
and they better be just right
we're all jews sometimes, all gay and
arizona, you have made us all illegals
with your flimsy mere suspicions
with your hatred for the "other"
buckled in and booted down
am i mexican? yes
am i a citizen? no
not in arizona
not in arizona, no!
not in a state so far from grace