A Poet's Kiss

Albuquerque poet Mary Oishi puts poems, pictures, and thoughts here for her family and friends, and for lovers of poetry everywhere.

Name:
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

suspect

am i mexican? no
am i a citizen? yes
so why are my eyes welling up, arizona?
why is my stomach churned?
my soul disturbed?

you sent me back, arizona, on that cross-country trip
back to that stop in topeka
on a greyhound where i swear some white frat boys
from UNLV gave a girl a date rape drug the night before
one big guy's legs across the aisle
kept anyone from going back there
nothing was done.

but in the daylight in topeka
me in my blue chinese hat, a gift
some friends found at a flea market
covered in brightly-colored pins:
red stars, chinese flags, flowers, idyllic asian scenes
to me it was whimsical
to the two pistoled cops, sheriff K-9 unit on their buckles
white shirts, blue pants tucked inside their army boots
one with a shaved head--
that hat was nothing you could buy at k-mart
to them it shouted commie! chinese! illegal! suspect!
threat! up to no good!
so one demanded WHERE YOU FROM, HUH?
while the other rifled through my bags stuffed overhead
oh yeah, maybe the frat boys would have asked for
a search warrant but i answered politely as i could
heart pounding/cheeks flushed/gun inches from my head
WHERE DID YOU BOARD THIS BUS?
WHY WERE YOU IN COLORADO?
WHERE YOU GETTING OFF?
all the while snooping through my bags
like my clothes were contraband

finally satisfied that i spoke fluent english
carried no sayings of chairman mao
no materials to make a bomb
they moved on to their only other target:
YOU SPEAK ENGLISH? they demanded
YOU GOT A GREEN CARD?
WHERE'S YOUR GREEN CARD?
LET ME SEE YOUR GREEN CARD NOW!
yes yes yes
scrambling to retrieve it from his pocket trembling

white passengers kept reading or looking out the window
as if they didn't see or hear a thing
a few old african americans sat there tired, resigned,
expecting to be next/relieved they weren't this time

i watched from the window as he got off the bus next stop
heard him speaking spanish to the woman waiting
she all ears and upset eyes

someone said we know how fascist the government is
by how much we fear the police

funny how topeka is suddenly berlin
the star of david, pink triangle there
here it's your green card, your english and your papers
and they better be just right

we're all jews sometimes, all gay and
arizona, you have made us all illegals
with your flimsy mere suspicions
with your hatred for the "other"
buckled in and booted down
am i mexican? yes
am i a citizen? no
not in arizona
not in arizona, no!
not in a state so far from grace

mary oishi

2 Comments:

Blogger Maria Miranda Maloney said...

This is wonderful, powerful poetry. I'm glad I saw your blog on FB.

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Al Mascarenas said...

your poem brought to mind a few experiences. thanks.

8:42 AM  

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