Monday, April 26, 2010

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Arnoldo García


my home
the rolling hills belonged to no one
yet drunk Indians and Mexicans thought they were theirs
(that is drunk Indians all).
Three syllables
three roots
dirt roads
cold seasons every winter
putting us in our place
My grandmother and grandfather
thought this place better than Texas
where whites lynched Mexicans
Here they strangled us with
hard labor in the fields
Even the Indians had to
change the spelling of their
names, their homeland
so that no one would confuse
Mexicans with Yakamas
that is whites only,
who took their land
and made us work it
made fertile volcanic soil and dust
mesh with our sweats, our
dream of return
only to die paupers
without land, work or home
except in the cemetery.

Toppenish, rolling hills, makes
me dizzy
swallows me up
my soul is tumbleweed
dried up at the emrcy
of northern winds
Toppenish is my hose
my horizon my word
my roots also
buried there.
My hands lie fallow
I hibernate in dreams
of toxic-free seeds
and uneven rows
meant for walking
and not tractors
we grew up walking
migrant comet trails
blazing, cornstalks,
greenbeans, hops,
orchards across the
brown sky of the land
In Toppenish you see everything
and you see what you need to see
You cannot ignore me
or forget me in Toppenish.

I did not choose this land
This land did not choose me
or my people
Now she is mine and I hers
Toppenish is the wind become
mountains, hills, valley,
volcanic paths, migrant tomb,
laughter and bully.

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