Monday, March 24, 2014

Carta a mi Jefe segun de los condicions de los trabajadores

I want to make sure that
everything is tied down
now that you’ve made
garrets of my words.  That you
would ever know I rise at
five to feed my dogs
and the old cat who
lives on the porch.  I wash and iron my
son’s clothes, and watch
while my wife leaves for her job
in Kentucky.  It’s just across
the river.  Back down there
is where I bend my soul if
I want to be free,
guitars and fine mountains. 
Did I tell you I
 know all about love, raising children,
parting forever,
planting flowers in May.  But when
I’m folding laundry
barefoot in the basement
listing to R.E.M., I wonder
if you’re even human, I
mean, I could never reconcile
the starched white shirts
you wear for anything
but a symbol of power,
what my liberal friends
call white privilege.   I continue
to wear my old stained
shirts from The Village
Thrift Shop and Goodwill,
I sometimes stop to help
strangers:  did you know
I once saved a toddler
from drowning?  I was living in Tucson
it was 1988 at a part--no one
saw the kid go over the side,
into the deep end.  They were
all drunk and I, smoking
a cigarette in the deep
cactus and juniper noticed, jumped
right in to save her.  I remember her mother cried.

Sometimes I imagine
you’re clipping you’re toenails
as your yard men clear
debris and cut your lawn. 
Across the street, the
roofers are speaking Spanglish,
blasting Cumbia into
the early morning of your
placid suburban existence.   I also imagine
you fear
the word vagina, and fear
what will come years from now,
say in 2065:  the world
finally freed from the Christ delusion,
men and women in love
with the earth and with each other—
the camaraderie of
empty icons will be
nothing where
the tree and the mountain
will reign.  But I dream too much:
I know you love and protect
us like children, each and every
one of us, except the atheists
who are here to ruin things.
But I bet some of them
swing on wild stars and planets
you’ll never know, in
dry clear deserts, on high unspoiled
mountain tops, not the dirty
smog smeared industrial
post-colonial spaces
you’re taking us, where our once
fearsome enemies now
work as slaves to make everything
we own, iPhones, batteries, socks.  So that’s
 the way it is.   Mindlessness and contentment
have a way of drifting
this way or that, like a
plastic grocery bag
on a windy day.

Sometime I imagine
you’re sitting in your office,
above us all, looking
down at the town you protect,
the town you project.  O, if there
were a way to take you
forward as to wipe your
mind of delusions!  Of Moloch
who owns the red bricks and statues,
of Moloch the “business model”
you admire.  Of Moloch and his
corporate bullies who
beat us into fear.  Come now.  You must
as I do take the scared
corn meal, spread
it in the early morning
sunlight, in the glare, past
the houses and trees.  “I will have a good” day
you should shout.  “I will be free”
you should shout.
The sun will be glad
for your existence.  On the lawn
seven Mexican eagles will
dance like pagans
in the sunlight.
This like anything else
is a dream, and I often
go to your institution dreaming
it will be a good day
as I have promised the
cosmos.  I take my little
black truck on over and park,
greeting everyone
with the smile you taught us,
the smile you expect,
while underneath there’s
a bunch of us boiling,
not just me, not just the dude
who empties the trash,
who isn’t allowed to speak to
me least it ruin the decorum
that floats over our village
like a heavy wet blanket
from Disneyland.  Or the old math
professor who’s
given up on god.   In the between
the politics of
shuffling from ice to snow,
to the cold rooms
where I profess the only thing
that holds me here
is gravity:  the heavy life
I carried here, my daughter
who attends your classes,
becoming aware of the
emptiness this place promises
if you aren’t a true believer,
If you’ve been brought
up to think and be free.

Now comes the time
I walk to my office in silence and solitude,
alone in my thoughts as I design
daily lesson plans and go over
readings in the big dark
space that is my mind.   From you and your kind
I have learned to keep my head
down, my eyes on a book
or on the ground, least I offend
with my glare or my big native
body.  I’ve heard stories of
how some people fear big dark men
who stand proud and speak
their minds, who become vociferous
because it’s the only way to
survive in a world that denies
humanity and difference.  Yet in the blue
blue sky I see
the last planets fade, and I gain hope,
for I have tasted the sweet air
of the high mountains, I have fed and cradled
my elderly dad while
he slowly died at the VA.   I have beaten
cancer and
bad cops who wanted
to kill me.  I shiver and quiver
in the dim darkness of my
disease which eats
my nerves and muscles.  Yet there are
some of your clique
who think I am a beast, an animal,
a savage without
manners or dignity.  Only because
I have spoken, or as your
one dog said,  surprised you
all at how articulate I am,
meaning I mean nothing to
you and that I deserved the heart attack
machine your boys
strapped to my quivering chest.
As for the rest, don’t worry.   I am finished
climbing mountains
and what’s ahead is
more like a frozen lake or plain
that I must trudge through.  With books,
breaking into sweats and seizures
just to please you.
For more than anything
else I fear you.  Fear if I stop
you will whip me like
they whipped dark men
in ages before, ages before
your young god stepped

from Nazareth to save
us from such cruelty.

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