Friday, August 31, 2018

this is where hope lives

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Dime con quién andas,
y te diré quién eres.
this is where hope lives,
in this riverbed of bone
in this wasteland of dust and tumbleweed roads,
in this weight tugging at america’s hips,
in this refugee sand trap strapped to a single star,
guiding weary travelers to the opposite of home.
this is where hope lives,
on burleson road,
where an apache warrior named joe dispenses water and free advice,
at least we’re luckier than those sons-of-bitches in California!
sonoma valley’s baked alive,
forest incinerated, property losses.
at least when trees die here, they die of natural causes.
but at the corner of capital and barton springs,
there’s a white cross where a young boy used to be that
heartily disagrees.
death is death, and whatever lives here, can die here too.
so hope roams.
it travels north to mount sinai church,
and for 2 hours, guides its people to the promise land,
microphone in hand,
a caravan departing from Galveston,
zig-zagging across the state
until it arrives in el paso via the rio grande.
for 180 minutes, hope wore a face and two ears,
it said, you belong here. don’t disparage.
its people lowered their guard and
stepped forward with their stories.
rosaria’s father was an immigrant and a veteran.
she buried him that morning.
(her body shook as she spoke
as if a geyser had exploded inside her
and her eyes were siphoning the burst.
hope thanked her father for his service,
and just that tiny gesture dried the
currents of her grief)
adam was the human embodiment of student loans.
(his arms thrusted outward as he spoke,
but by the time hope replied, the gesture died
and so had the weary look accompanying it.
it seemed the divine promise forgave mistakes that
texans made while attending college)
jolene lost her job to a company overseas.
(she moved side to side as she spoke,
dancing the broken two-step of the unemployed.
hope moved in and touched her shoulder.
her body stilled, and you could tell
it was the first time she’d exhaled in years)
hope wore a buttoned-down shirt
and by the time the second amendment reared its ugly head,
its entire front was wet with sweat
from the desperate requests of 1000 voters.
hope’s followers left with bags of buttons and barbed wire,
supplies for the long road ahead—
whispering, wouldn’t it be grand to make waves in a land
that rain has forgotten?
and will you tell them in california
when the smoke clears that they’re welcome here?
because if hope can live here, it can die here too,
amid yard signs of black and white desire.
even in the promise land
hope can’t make waves without water.

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