My Homeland

I turn on the news and all I hear is immigration, mass deportations, and unjust incarceration.
People of color coming from their homeland cause of all the exploitation done by this nation!

Cartels and DEA fraternal twins pushing the flow of narcotics. But this ain't nothing new. The CIA has been part of their crew, granting immunity to Mexico's Felix-Gallardo cuz of his funding to contras in Nicaragua. Political cronies well payed as long as monopolizing the drug market was given the Okay.

1980's to be exact, Also when Reagan's administration was pulling loads of gold, all that revenue coming from lab invented crack, used to destroy families living in poor communities. Read between the lines and u'll realize that the real drug kingpins are congressionally tied. Yet they criminalize latinos saying we a danger to this economic crisis. It's all blatant lies that the 1% telling the 99 cuz they trying to divide so the people won't rise!

Fuck them! They've left my homeland in two, making policies that leave land-working people with no alternatives but to harvest opium, coca, and kush cuz NAFTA, devaluing mexican goods!

Fathers, mothers, and children leaving families back home in coming to the unknown, decades come and go but I still see the sadness in my parents eyes that they missed out on precious family time.

Threats of calling ICE and the loss of jobs if the spark of a union comes to life, but we aint backin' down from this fight cuz our journey here was no walk on paradise we gonna strive until we gain these so called equal rights only given to whites!

Neo-colonialism leaving MesoAmerica soaked in blood; United States imperialism Militarizing our countries, distracting peoples need of unification to combat exploitation. Our focus is trying to see tomorrow's break of light. Gun shots all you hear day and night. Cuz the war on drugs like capitalism need genocide in order for it to survive.

So don't blame us for stepping into stolen land. We just avoiding the dangers that the ruling class caused on our homeland.

Right-wing politicians promising to extinguish cartels, capturing top heads but unlike chess fallen kings are replaced preventing the end of the game.

Throwback to Mexico's 68 and the same shit we see happening today occurred yesterday!

Cartels and government agencies terrorizing my people making 43 youth disappear but its cool we'll act clueless and say they were deep in the drug trade.

If resistance escalates we'll offer parents a few grand to compensate for their children's demise. Those fools. Can't they see, we the people hold on to our virtues!

One last line:
Get this through your mind: You can NEVER silence TRUTH!


FJ writes about his experiences growing up in working- class neighborhoods of Chicago. He's currently pursuing a teaching degree at UIC and organizes with groups such as We Charge Genocide.

Two Poems

Editors' note: Shaimaa El-Sabbagh was killed on January 24th of this year by the Egyptian police while demonstrating in memory of the 800 people killed during the 2011 revolution. She was a poet, a scholar, a mother, and a revolutionary socialist. Her death highlights the repressive obstacles that still face the struggle for freedom in Egypt. Alexander Billet's brief take on her work can be read here. Red Wedge reprints two of her poems here in her memory. 

* * *

A Letter In My Purse

I am not sure
Truly, she was nothing more than just a purse
But when lost, there was a problem
How to face the world without her
Especially
Because the streets remember us together
The shops know her more than me
Because she is the one who pays
She knows the smell of my sweat and she loves it
She knows the different buses
And has her own relationship with their drivers
She memorizes the ticket price
And always has the exact change
Once I bought a perfume she didn’t like
She spilled all of it and refused to let me use it
By the way
She also loves my family
And she always carried a picture
Of each one she loves

What might she be feeling right now
Maybe scared?
Or disgusted from the sweat of someone she doesn’t know
Annoyed by the new streets?
If she stopped by one of the stores we visited together
Would she like the same items?
Anyway, she has the house keys
And I am waiting for her

I'm the Girl Banned From Christian Religion Classes

I’m the girl banned from attending Christian religion classes, and Sunday mass
Although I am a witness to the crucifixion of Jesus
In Train Station Square at the height of the morning
Even then, all the windows were open and the blood was racing the cars on the asphalt
The eyes of the girls were running in Heaven, catching the forbidden rocking chair.

I am the girl banned from love in the squares
I stood in the middle of the street and gathered in my hand the stars of the sky, individually,
And the sweat of the street vendors
The voices of beggars
And the people who love God as they damn this moment that the creatures of God approved
To crucifying Jesus naked in the crowded square on the clock arms as it declared one at noon
I, the girl banned from saying no, will never miss the dawn

These poems were published in English at ArabLit.org. They were translated by Maged Zaher and were republished here with his permission.


Shaimaa El-Sabbagh was an Egyptian poet and revolutionary. She was killed by police on January 24th, 2015. 

Three Poems

Thoughts

Takeover
The game is in.
Silent movements in the green
A conqueror’s blend

Infiltration of garbage
That seeks to further divide
The lumpenproletariats
And the world consumed
With petty bourgeois’s pride

Living the 21st Century crave
I walk the delusional maze.

Under dollar motivation
We’re drenched with the idea.
That it will fix our situation

I Am Not The Source

Trapped in the obligating shift
That I captured in a glass bottle
Then threw off the cliff

The mischievous trip
Is wrapped with a gift
That controls fancy imagination
Written for us
Then destroyed for participation

A systematic disguise
That seeks to attract us
And then smack us
Like flies

One must understand:
I am not the source
But today, I surrendered.
I am the corpse.

Zenithal

Never disown hope
In the swallow of storms
Give up the recitation
Of all previous forms

I was an affirmation
Firm in someone’s grip
Hidden under doorways
Now I’m about slip

Reminders of destitution
Reaching for solutions

Never disown hope
In the swallow of storms
Give up the recitation
Of all previous forms

Give the revolution
Take your hands from the die.
I never give up.
One must see the sky
I captured the vision.
new world inside my eye.


Keenan Mosley is a skincare consultant and poet living in Chicago. His poems range in theme from dramatic love to fierce politics.

Arminius

Arminius was a hostage of Rome,
son of subjugated Germania, 
a prince of defeated peoples.

He was taken far from
the marshes of Teutoburg Forest,
to the great city from where
his masters ruled the world.

Captive, he learned 
about Roman society,
its vanities and
the logic of its thinking.

In the market, he noticed
not which fruits are sweet;
but how the merchants dealt.

Studying the martial arts, 
he did not just learn techniques; 
he developed strategies.

His eyes were trained on fissures,
those places where solitary 
drops of water
can begin to erode an empire.

And using the tools
his captors gave him,
he dealt a coup de main 
which collapsed a thousand year order.


Anthony Squiers, PhD is a political philosopher and poet. He is currently Lecturer and Postdoctoral researcher at the Universität Passau in Germany, and is the author of An Introduction to the Social and Political Philosophy of Bertolt Brecht: Revolution and Aesthetics.

Dr. Mads Gilbert Is Banned From Gaza For Life

He spent the summer drenched
in the blood and ashes
of the Israeli ground invasion,
covered in evaporated souls
the victims of Israeli bombs

he stood smack in the middle
of a military target:
al-Shifa hospital
ears filled with
the orchestra of the israeli war machine

Each apache passing in the sky
brought another child with bullet-stained body
blood stained eyes

Dr. Mads Gilbert
tends to the maimed, broken, wounded
dying, dying, almost dead
He cries to himself as he sits
surrounded by ghosts, writing:
The rivers of blood will keep running the coming night.
I can hear they have tuned their instruments of death.

And when night lifts in Shifa hospital
Day is too shrouded with darkness for him to notice
so he keeps working

He cries out, but bodies keep coming
The world has turned its back
on the bodies, on the people
its leaders shift eyes and shrug shoulders
drink and delay
But Mads is still holding a ten-year old boy
his legs blown off, his face burned
the terrorist they’ve been after

What would you have done?
Mads asks us.
Would we have given up,
waved the white flag?
No, no.
We would not.

Dr. Mads Gilbert goes on TV and says:
Don’t send bandages,
Don’t send syringes.
Don’t send medical teams.
The most important medical thing
you can do now
is force Israel to stop bombing.
It is to lift the siege of Gaza.

Dr. Mads Gilbert puts down the the bloodied bandage
and leaves the operating room.

My respect for the wounded is endless, he writes
in their contained determination in the midst of pain,
agony and shock;
my admiration for the staff and volunteers is endless,
my closeness to the Palestinian “sumud” gives me strength,
although in glimpses I just want to scream,
hold someone tight, cry,
smell the skin and hair of the warm child,
covered in blood,
protect ourselves in an endless embrace –
but we cannot afford that, nor can they.

Dr. Mads Gilbert is banned from Gaza
for life

The words are so full
they draw tears
and with all the strength he has left
memories overflow and spill
with each tear
drops of solidarity.

*Everything in italics is from Dr. Mads Gilbert writing or speaking in the Electronic IntifadaMiddle East Monitor or Democracy Now!


Nisha Bolsey is a Palestine solidarity activist and socialist in New York City. She is currently studying to become and educator.

Squeal

*For Joni Ernst, candidate for US Senate

My brutality is wholesome,
     a culmination of cartoon
          farm-family values
Visited upon the animals
     you name and give voices to
          when you read your children
               their bedtime story

I float over you when you turn on their night-light
     a gelding knife in one hand
     a grenade in the other

There will be no strife on my watch
No red-glaring rockets
     to illuminate the cold-sweat underneath your dreams
          the anxieties that the monsters who
               make you afraid to take a piss at a gas station restroom
               will one day
               come trick-or-treating at your front door

I will eviscerate the degenerates
     Before they sink their clumsy, greedy and thuggish claws into your young ones
And be there to feed them the flesh at breakfast the next day

Won’t you give me your vote?


Xavier Pontoon is the pseudonym for a writer, cultural critic and surrealist activist hailing originally from the United States. He may live somewhere in that country and may be dabbling in poetry and drama.

I Spit You Out of My Mouth

AT ITS core all art criticism — and all art — is an argument for what art should be. In polite conversation one can invoke taste and propriety. If someone asks your opinion on a friend’s play, you can mitigate your disapproval by saying, “Not my cup of tea, but interesting…”

You can change the subject matter by invoking something similar, but artistically superior: “I didn’t see much of Lost, but did you watch Battlestar Galactica?” (the first two seasons)

But what if you must write something? God, anything, about something you neither hate nor love? You think of Revelations 3.16: “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

ASPECTS of this video are undoubtedly interesting, and not-so interesting, but as a totality it is tepid. In a crumbling world it takes no sides, mourns no dead, buries no children, experiences no joy, wins no battles, subverts few tropes. Does it aim to be sublime? No. This is not the Monk and the Sea. Does it aim to open a door to formalism? No, not really. Does it critique anything? Nothing that is clear.

The plaque on the wall says it is about time. I can see that, but it is no Stalker or Where is the Friend’s House? Is this relational aesthetics? No. We are not in the water, would that we were, bouncing in the waves like children on a holiday. Perhaps there will be a shark. A shark would solve everything. It would come from beneath the water and devour a monument of simulated boredom.

Would that it was real boredom! Real boredom — the kind only children can experience. How I miss that boredom. Is this a cultural artifact? It is now, but it wasn’t before. Is it documentation of some elemental natural phenomenon? Sort-of? But that isn’t what it really is. Perhaps it has a cultural history I do not understand. Is it a Zen koan?

If I didn’t write about it would it cease to exist?

PERHAPS it is decorative. It should be on a giant digital power wall, toward one end of retro modernist bar — the kind in the expensive downtowns of global cities, where you can finally find some Pernod, and where the bartender gives you all the respect that was denied you in every aspect of your working-class life so far (if you are dressed properly and you are white).

The sloshing makes sense. It is not there to say anything but to appear to say something. Maybe it is an installation in a high-end Beijing hotel. It makes the world that surrounds the businessmen and women seem heroic, beyond the mundane, as they drink, make phone calls, conjure factories from the earth, make deals, engage prostitutes, order I-phones by the hundreds of thousands…

Maybe the purpose of this virtual water is to drown the memories of petty elites. They studied all the histories of the world. They didn’t understand a word of it. But it nagged at them. Now they can forget everything. Maybe this video is a virtual baptism. Here you can pretend to have your sins washed away.


Calvin Williams is a deceased weird poet and artist from Grand Tower, Illinois.

For the MOVE Bombing, Philadelphia, 1985

Were there any Mother’s Day flowers

For Birdie Africa’s mom the day the

Philadelphia police cleared one square

City block in preparations for their massacre?

Did the mothers trapped in that burning row house

Get bouquets of lilies and roses and carnations

And hugs and smiles and warm salutations?

Because the outside world sure wasn’t

Giving them any. Just bombs and fire, a

Mini-Dresden for mini-Hitlers, a show of civic power,

For they can’t afford Family Africa’s kind of truth

Wafting down Osage and into the hearts and minds

They would rather slay than have educated.

Perhaps Birdie picked a fledgling bloom

From between the cracks of urban doom

And gave it to his mother who straddled

The San Andreas fault of black injustice

With her family enduring by her side

In that inhumane squalor their

Desperate voices cried out from, with

Only the hand of brutality answering their call.


Chris Robideaux is a poet and author living in Northern California. His poetry has appeared in Softblow, The Melic Review and other outlets. He is the author of  Thespia's Abandon

Reading Celan at the Liberation War Museum

  Cover art from the author’s new book Seam, by Dilara Begun Jolly

Cover art from the author’s new book Seam, by Dilara Begun Jolly

—Independence Day Celebration 2011, Dhaka

            i.

In a courtyard, in these stacks of chairs

            before the empty stage—near are

we Lord, near and graspable. Lord,

            accept these humble offerings:

stacks of biscuits wrapped in cellophane,

            stacks of bone in glass: thighbone,

spine. Stacks of white saucers, porcelain

            circles into which stacks of lip-worn

cups slide neat. Jawbone, Lord. Galleries

            of laminated clippings declaring war.

Hands unstack chairs into rows. The dead:

            they still go begging. What for, Lord?

Blunt bayonets, once sharp as wind?

            Moon-pale stacks of clavicle? A hand—


 

            ii.

Moon-pale stacks of clavicle a hand

            brushes dust from. I lost a word

 

that was left to me: sister. The wind

             severs through us—we sit, wait

for songs of nation and loss in neat

            long rows below this leaf-green

flag—its red-stitched circle stains

            us blood-bright blossom, stains

us river-silk—I saw you, sister, standing

            in this brilliance—I saw light sawing

through a broken car window, thistling

            us pink—I saw, sister, your bleeding

head, an unfurling shapla flower

            petaling slow across mute water—


 

            iii.

Petaling slow

                        across mute water,

bows of trawlers

                               skimming nets

of silver fish that ripple

                                        through open

hands that will carve them

                                                  skin-

less. We were hands,

                                      we scooped

the darkness empty. We

                                              are rooted

bodies in rows silent before

                                                    the sparked

blue limbs of dancers

                                       leafing the dark

light indigo, then

                               jasmine alighting

into a cup, then

                             hands overturning

postcards bearing flag

                                         and flower, hands

cradling the replica of a boat,

                                                     hands

thrust there and into

                                             nothingness. You,

a corpse, sister, bathed

                                          jasmine, blue—


 

            iv.

A corpse: sister, bathed jasmine. Blue,

                                       the light leading me from this gift shop into

a gallery of gray stones: Heartgray puddles,

                          two mouthfuls of silence: the shadow

            cast by the portrait of a raped woman trapped

in a frame, face hidden behind her own black

                            river of hair: photo that a solemn girl

your corpse’s age stands still and small

                         before. She asks, Did someone hurt her?

 

               Did she do something bad? Her mother

                                           does not reply. Her father turns, shudders,

as the light drinks our silences, parched—


                             as I too turn in light, spine-scraped—

you teach you teach your hands to sleep


 

            v.

you teach you teach your hands to sleep

because her hands can’t hold the shape

of a shapla flower cut from its green leaf

because her hands can’t hold grief

nor light nor sister     in her hands fistfuls

of her own hair    on her wrists glass bangles

like the one you struggled over your hand

the same hand that slapped a sister’s wan

face    look   the young girl stands before

the photo of the young woman who swore

she would not become the old woman

crouched low on a jute mat holding

out to you a bangle    a strange lostness was

bodily present       you came near to living

 

            vi.

Bodily present, you came near to living,

            Poet, in this small blue dress still stained,

the placard states, with the blood of the child

            crushed dead by a soldier’s boot. Who failed

and fails?—nights you couldn’t bear the threshed

            sounds of your heart’s hard beating. I press

a button: 1971 springs forth: black and white

            bodies marching in pixelated rows. Nights

you resuscitated the Word, sea-overflowed,

            star-overflown. A pixelated woman tied

with a white rope to a black pole, her white

            sari embroidered with mud or blood. Nights

you were the wax to seal what’s unwritten

            the screen goes white in downdrifting light.


 

            vii.

The screen goes white. In downdrifting light,

            the stairwell is a charred tunnel. We walk out

of it into the couttyard—my skirt flares a rent

            into the burnt evening. Something was silent,

something went its way—something gnashes

            inside me, sister—along the yellow gashes

of paint guiding me through these rooms lined

            with glass cases, past machine gun chains

shaped into the word Bangla. Here, on this

            stage, a dancer bows low her limbs

once more before us. The stage goes silent.

            We gather ourselves: souvenirs of bone.

Pray, Lord. We are near. Near are we, Lord—

            in a courtyard, in these stacks of chairs.

*This poem appears in the author’s new book, Seam, published by Southern Illinois University Press.


Tarfia Faizullah was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Texas. Her parents immigrated to the United States from Bangladesh in 1978. Her book, Seam, won the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award.