Welcome to enjoy the best shoot-outs
on and off the big screen
welcome to smile at the helicopters
passing over the backyards
to make it clear that fear exists
welcome to experience the sweetest torture
to win wars in foreign lands
to make money in foreign lands
to impose ideas on foreign lands
welcome to enjoy a fast food
fast read, fast friendship, fast sex,
and hurry so you don’t miss the train of fame
and the American Dream.
Three helicopters fly over my house
they come and go in circles
People cross the street quickly
the noise in the sky doesn’t allow me to lose my fear
the noise in the sky is the new church, new catechism
the new way of saying that justice has spoken
the white man still has the power
and that having a black president is just a coincidence
of time and space.
I’ll try to leave without being seen
I'll climb trees and hide in the branches
I’ll make a nest with the birds who offer me refuge.
From the top of this tree I can see more people like me
writing poetry, more people like me out into the streets to protest
I can see frightened people, people with rabies
people wanting revenge.
I don’t want to live hidden in four walls of fear
I want to say that here I am
with all my verses ready to shoot my words
to strafe my poem in their faces
and in response be killed in self-defense
with the permission of justice
and the inevitable problem of the color of my skin.
Oakland, 15-16 July, 2013
Translation by Nina Serrano
-Helicopters photos by Adrian-