Thursday, January 13, 2011

History Don't Tell

History don’t tell my students what they need to know

Students here are dark and poor

History shows them lily white

Shows them men with guns and might

Tells elaborate tales of landed gentry

White male landowners owning all the property

They hear the drones of their declarations, contestations and Modernity

No surprise students start to say, “Maybe someday that could be me!”

History don’t let the students know

The resistance of 500 years ago

The people locked out of the American Dream

The people who labored and toiled this earth

While Massa got fat and lived the dream on their backs

History doesn’t tell the students what they need to know

Need to know to fight all that

The red on the reservation

The black on the plantation

The white indentured servant on the field

The yellow on the railroad

The brown migrant worker

The woman and child’s nimble fingers in the factory

The immigrant who met with a rude awakening

The differently abled body who couldn’t fit into the capitalist’s logic of efficiency

Or the one who loves differently

The supremacy

The divvying people up

For empire dreams

Profit maximizing and expanding on human bodies

History don’t let the students know

The Reality

Of people fighting

Fighting all that

Building solidarity

Voices speaking

Spitting out the great Father’s milk

Demanding something else




History needs to let students see

Let students see all that

And see these people as themselves

‘Cause when they go out there

And leave the classroom for good

History should have done it's job

And told them the truth

And History needs to give them the tools to use

‘Cause when they leave, leave the classroom for good

It’s the same thing

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Niahra's Shoes

Niahra’s got a job now. A nice desk job where she gets to answer the telephone and run errands for suit and tie people. You know those kind of jobs I'm talking about? The kind of jobs your parents want you to get that requires you to look all “big and bad” and business like. The jobs that make you look like your running things, even when you’re just doing the bidding of someone who is bigger and badder than you. You know that work I'm talking about right? The picking up the phone--“Hello, this is Mr. So an So’s office how may I direct your phone call?”-- kinda work, the behind the desk filing papers work, the gotta be busy, busy, busy-body work. You know what I mean. The secretary work. Niahra’s a secretary.

She got on a pair of brown flats that slightly pinch her toes. I should have gotten a size bigger, she thinks. She would like to return them, but she lost the receipt. Besides that, Niahra’s never been too fond of spending too much of her time with clothes and shoes. She probably put those shoes on knowing they pinched her poor toes just so too, and haphazardly decided that it wouldn’t be a problem…until. It became a problem. She probably didn’t even think about what it would mean to have to wear those shoes for 5 hours and 5 days out of the week. Or. What it would be like to have to walk up the stairs with those shoes and walk down the stairs with those shoes. Or. What it would be like to walk from her office across the street to the post office so she could send her bosses letters express.

And! She never thought. That even as she was standing still to order a medium coffee (not decaf, the suit and tie boss doesn’t put up with decaf) with light cream and 2 sugars that she would feel the little pinch pinch pinching from her shoes. And every time she stands, without fail she feels it. That pinch pinch pinching. She never thought. She never thought how much those shoes could hurt.

Well. Niahra will just have to get over it and move on. I suppose she can try to get some new ones. But you never know what you’re gonna get. With her next professional like shoes they may even have too much heel or too much foot room or even find somewhere else to pinch. Humph! Doesn't she look all business like? Pleated pencil skirt. Check! White collared shirt with the blue shiny buttons. Check! Little silver stud earrings. Check! Brown pumps. Check! Aching feet? Well. Poor thing thought being all business like would exempt her from having foot pain. But those feet ache so...check! Oh well. Ain’t nothing she can do but to yell at these big and bad people who order the smaller people to sweat over making those shoes. And really, what good would that do when they make and sell so goddamn many of them?