A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
White people have won the world
for everyone. The dog wags its tail
on the clean lawn under the American sun.
White culture has won the world
for everyone. A truck moves down
the highway at 80 miles per hour. Christianity
has won the world and everyone else is
dead. We converted those we could and
those we couldn’t were pumped full of lead.
Their bodies rot in the sun as we smile, plant
a flower, and eat the world’s biggest
hamburgers under American power.
Five years ago, in New York City, there was
a dark place called Harlem. Out west in California
there was a yellow place called Chinatown. In
Washington DC there was another dark place
across the river called Anacostia. All across
America the colors were drifting from town to town.
In Asia there was a place called India where
it was too hot, and next to that a place called China
that was too Chinese, and a place called
the Philippines where they were obscenely
philippine and Africa which was always
too African when we were obviously not.
We worked hard and we prayed, bonding
brick to mortar, we were not in Asia, we
were not in Africa, we were in America
in North America. We mowed our lawns
to a uniform green shine, we mowed our
healthy minds, we played our games the right
way then we sealed our borders. We sat
on our decks, fell asleep with beers in our
hands, and we were proud and when
we spoke we were loud, and we shunned
the dark views that lay in the terrible shade
of the cities, and we listened to the right news
because we were Americans in America not
in Africa. When beggars came asking
for money we asked them for their papers
and when they showed us no papers we kicked
them between the thighs, we beat them
with bats until they started bleeding
from the eyes, until they learned that without
hard work they were being left behind.
And the sun shone on our white power
and on our beautiful flowers, and we
laughed as the sun shined hour after
glorious hour and we held our heads
high for our battle with the government
state, and we grabbed our guns and
declared God is great, God is great.
We shot people who knocked
on our doors—they were slain, put
to rest. Then we travelled over oceans
to their homes and strapped bombs
to our chests. They didn’t believe in Christ
so they couldn’t be saved, they deserved
to die. It was time for them to go, say farewell
to their evil ways. Goodbye, devil, goodbye.
We were butterflies become death bombers
like pale, weightless saints, and we rose
to the sky where angels were our pilots,
to the glittering heavens above. We are
like the machines that make what the world
wants to take, but we keep everything human
through our violent acts of love. And now it’s
time to spread the heavens to taste the succulent
virgin taste. Baby, I’ve drained the color
from your cheeks, I’m onto you like glue.
Baby, baby, what you wanted to do to me
I’m now doing to you. Baby, baby, this is my plane
and I’m doing it because America is great.
— Jose Padua
Photo credit: Pat Padua