Sunday, December 11, 2011

Poet Rosa Alcalá on the Occupy Movement


Rosa Alcalá whom took part in installment one of Latino/a Poetry Now at Harvard University, is the current poet featured in Words on a Wire’s “Poetic License” segment. Words on a Wire, a radio show on poetry, fiction and issues of concern to writers and the community at large is hosted by Daniel Chacón and Benjamin Sáenz.

Like a finely-honed scalpel, in this roughly ten minute long segment, Rosa Alcalá dissects the Occupy Wall Street Movement’s demand at heart and in doing so shows us the human tissues behind the abstract language so commonly employed by the popular media in their attempts to dehumanize and discredit the movement and the people who most seek to benefit from it: the unemployed or underemployed, them whom compose the ball in this game of labor and markets and are tucked away at whistle’s final call.

Taking us through a hallucinating journey from office temp to graduate student to professor at UTEP, Rosa reflects on what it means to be at the mercy of those who control the rules and regulations of the labor game. Never a stranger to the whims of this game, Alcalá evokes her fight with cancer to further testify to these crimes of our times: had she not left her job as an office temp to pursue an education she might not have had survived her cancer. It was precisely being part of an institution of higher learning that gave her access to a top surgeon in that field. Alcalá reflects on the fact that unlike her, there are many who will never have the option of leaving behind hazardous working conditions and will be condemned to the violence of poverty. Rosa sums it best when she states:  

“But the Occupy Movement, not just on Wall Street now but everywhere, is at its core about demanding that we all have options. The option to see a doctor when sick without going broke. The option to live and work in a healthy environment. The option to afford a safe place to live. The option to get an affordable education. The option to save a little money for retirement. And the option to not live in fear that everything one has worked for might disappear. And to that I raise my pink message pad. Today it reads:

 “CALL FOR CHANGE. URGENT REPLY REQUESTED.’”

To listen to the show click here.

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