Sunday, April 04, 2010

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Arnoldo García

This neighborhood dies of thirst

Our revolution
has no martyrs
we have no revolution
yet we have martyrs
young men and boys
who kill each other
because we have no revolution
except the violence of one for them

The border brothers
make north and south
the north is nothing without the south
the south cannot exist without the north
yet young men and boys
kill each other
for lack of direction
the border brothers are both
north and south
north is a border
south of the border
north borders south
they are lost in their vengeance

"War is the extension of politics by other means"

Gang war
is a figment
of the imagination
of boys and young men
with guns
what politics
are they extending
except naked power
over their neighbors
over their families
in the ruins of an imaginary war
with real bullets
with real victims
destroyed families

Thirteen years old
they'll be forgotten
only to be remembered by their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters
who have a crushed sun in their throat
East Oakland is a ghost, a crying woman, a gutted kid, foreclosed futures
altars on 55th, 40th, MacArthur, Foothill
Our future disappears in drive-bys and shootouts
we have a name and a history
we are not to die before our time
we walk the graveyard that the guns propose in our neighborhoods

When I go to work in the mornings
I see students walking to school
I look for colors
red blue black & white signals
spray-can scribes
marking the neighborhood as theirs
and everyone else beware
but the cops have more guns, radios, courts, judges, jails
more men armed and dangerous
patrolling the streets
where will the children go
to jail to school to work to post?
How will this story end?
My neighbors go to work early
come back late
the children are left alone and become old by nightfall
we bury them at dawn
and make it to work by 9?

east oakland lies in the middle of the borders north & south
surrounded by crosses, guns, cops, day laborers, norteños, sureños and gentrifiers
with their banks and police force

how will this story begin?

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