Who Owes Whom?

Xispas.com, 2007

And what if we interrupted

the phosphorescent faces

that calmly assess our fate?

What if we stripped the presses of

their convenient projections,

voicing instead our own objections

to the national debt and immigrant debate?

We are not the trespassers

who transformed our cobble-stone streets,

adorned by the twice repossessed

temples to our future,

into war zones:

bombed out and abandoned

like the dreams

hunger consumes.

We are not the trespassers

who engraved malnutrition

into the ancient faces

of our children;

carved servitude

into the knotted driftwood backs

of our campesinos

who must relinquish our food

to the world’s table.

We are not the trespassers

who annexed half our nations

hoarding our wealth in hands

as clean and white

as the teeth of bankers,

las guardias blancas,

la Casa Blanca,

el banco mundial blanco,

though the skin at times may look brown.

And we will not pay one increment more

than the blood and tears

shed like ticker-tape

in the miscarried revolutions

creditors aborted.

For how are we to repay a debt that is owed us?

Please Sir, tell us,

how do we trespass on land that was first peopled by us?

All that land you pried from the still-warm fingers of our dead

like artifacts to be sold to private collectors.

All those wares you snatched like meat

from the ribs of our hungry.

All that land on which we die

like ants in a poison rain when we till it;

like worms for turning garbage to gold.

All those riches all that blood all that sweat.

How are we to repay a debt owed us?

Please, Sir, tell us,

How does one trespass

when a land belongs only to

the rivers, roots and sun?


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