Monday, April 10, 2006

Poetry for the Revolution.

Across the nation, thousands participated in walkouts and marches today, demonstrating for immigrant rights. Here at the University of Texas, students gathered in the morning to march to the Capitol. I'm not just talking college students; middle school and high school kids came marching from miles away, risking suspension and other retaliatory action.

Go here if you want to see some beautiful pictures taken today by my brilliant boy.

And here, a prayer for justice.

"Imagine the Angels of Bread"

by Martín Espada

This is the year that squatters evict landlords,
gazing like admirals from the rail
of the roofdeck
or levitating hands in praise
of steam in the shower;
this is the year
that shawled refugees deport judges
who stare at the floor
and their swollen feet
as files are stamped
with their destination;
this is the year that police revolvers,
stove-hot, blister the fingers
of raging cops,
and nightsticks splinter
in their palms;
this is the year
that darkskinned men
lynched a century ago
return to sip coffee quietly
with the apologizing descendants
of their executioners.

This is the year that those
who swim the border's undertow
and shiver in boxcars
are greeted with trumpets and drums
at the first railroad crossing
on the other side;
this is the year that the hands
pulling tomatoes from the vine
uproot the deed to the earth that sprouts the vine,
the hands canning tomatoes
are named in the will
that owns the bedlam of the cannery;
this is the year that the eyes
stinging from the poison that purifies toilets
awaken at last to the sight
of a rooster-loud hillside,
pilgrimage of immigrant birth;
this is the year that cockroaches
become extinct, that no doctor
finds a roach embedded
in the ear of an infant;
this is the year that the food stamps
of adolescent mothers
are auctioned like gold doubloons,
and no coin is given to buy machetes
for the next bouquet of severed heads
in coffee plantation country.

If the abolition of slave-manacles
began as a vision of hands without manacles,
then this is the year;
if the shutdown of extermination camps
began as imagination of a land
without barbed wire or the crematorium,
then this is the year;
if every rebellion begins with the idea
that conquerors on horseback
are not many-legged gods, that they too drown
if plunged in the river,
then this is the year.

So may every humiliated mouth,
teeth like desecrated headstones,
fill with the angels of bread.

--from Imagine the Angels of Bread (1996)


At 5:18 PM, Blogger Ashley said...

I was thinking there must have been a huge march in Austin today and wishing I was there so that I could participate. As far as I could tell there wasn't one here, although MI actually has a huge migrant population: peaches, cherries, apples. I'm so glad that people aren't just taking this one lying down...

At 6:48 PM, Blogger Laura said...

Wow, what a beautiful and powerful poem. Thank you for posting it.

I hope this truly *is* the year...

Bill's pictures were fabulous, BTW!

At 11:17 PM, Blogger candsmom said...

Thank you for the beautiful poem. The line about darkskinned men returning to sip coffee with the descendants of their executioners gave me goose bumps. Bill's pictures were equally powerful and truly worth a thousand words.


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