Poem For The Young White Man Who Asked Me How I, An Intelligent, Well-Read Person, Could Believe In
The War Between Races
by Lorna Dee
Reprinted from Emplumada, a collection of poetry by Lorna Dee Cervantes, printed by University of Pittsburgh Press, 1981. It was Lorna Dee’s first book and received a 1982 American Book award. Her poems include thoughts on growing up in Mexican-American communities in the San Jose/Santa Clara Valley area of Northern California. Two poems, “Freeway 280” and “Beneath the Shadow of a Freeway” document the loss/destruction of historica Chicano neighborhoods for the building of the 280 freeway.
Chicana/o literary critic Jose David Saldivar wrote about her work, “No book has so successfully made the California urban and rural worlds of unfinished freeways and ‘spinached specked shoes’ of cannery workers come alive. No book has so carefully elucidated what living as a Chicana in the West means…. Emplumada offers a number of troubled and delicate portraits of a woman’s world and how that antipatriarchal world has come to have meaning
|In my land there are no distinctions.
The barbed wire politics of oppression
have been torn down long ago. The only reminder
of past battles, lost or won, is a slight
rutting in the fertile fields.
In my land
I am not a revolutionary.
I believe in revolution
I’m marked by the color of my skin.
These bullets bury deeper than logic.
Outside my door
I am a poet
and this is my land.
I do not believe in the war between races
but in this country
p.s. Tomorrow I’ll be at my cousin Tami’s house- I’ll return sometime Sunday.
p.p.s. Papers, papers, papers- why did I procrastinate? ARRRGH!