Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Undocumented Poem # 9

We cannot depend on any political party, for both the Democrats and the Republicans have betrayed the basic principles of the Declaration of Independence. We all recognize the fact that if any radical social, political and economic changes are to take place in our society, the people, the masses, must bring them about.— Representative John Lewis, 1963
I say again, I'm not anti-Democrat, I'm not anti-Republican, I'm not anti-anything. I'm just questioning their sincerity, and some of the strategy that they've been using on our people by promising them promises that they don't intend to keep. When you keep the Democrats in power, you're keeping the Dixiecrats in power. I doubt that my good Brother Lomax will deny that. A vote for a Democrat is a vote for a Dixiecrat. That's why, in 1964, it's time now for you and me to become more politically mature and realize what the ballot is for; what we're supposed to get when we cast a ballot; and that if we don't cast a ballot, it's going to end up in a situation where we're going to have to cast a bullet. It's either a ballot or a bullet.—Malcolm X
no se necesitan balas para probar un punto
es logico no se puede hablar con un difunto
el dialogo destruye cualkier situacion macabra
antes de usar balas disparo con palabras—Calle 13
This year will mark the second time in my life that I am old enough to vote in a presidential election. The first time was 2008. I did not vote. This year, I will not vote. Not being a U.S. citizen I am not eligible to engage in this symbolic act of democracy.

I am a poet. I am not an activist. I could never rightfully call myself an activist.


Marco Saavedra and Viridiana Martinez are undocumented students and DREAM activists.

Saavedra grew up in NY City after having arrived from Mexico in 1993. On July 11, risking deportation, Saavedra and Viridiana Martinez infiltrated the Broward Transitional Center in Florida—a detention and deportation center, owned and operated for ICE by GEO group; “the world’s leading provider of correctional detention” with facilities in the U.S., U.k., Australia and South Africa—in order to organize and bring awareness to those facing deportation and incarceration in such facilities. People like:

Claudio Rojas, originally from Argentina, and who was detained by Border Patrol agents after having picked up his son and accidently driving into the Ft. Lauderdale port, in Florida. He is now in a hunger strike.

or Anibal Hernandez, from Mexico, and whose children have—in the absence of his father—been reduced to live a hand to mouth existence, where what is eaten one day maybe needed the next.


I am not a poet. I could never rightfully call myself a poet.

Marco, Viridiana, Claudio, Anibal are poets whose primary concern is life.
 Poetry, when it works—when it is real poetry—IS life.

Anything else is irrelevant.

they slash poetry from her roots
she learns to walk without having roots

even from the desert they kill her
she walks the desert still

they deported her from her tongue
she learned to speak their tongue

bendita sea la mano 
que le corta la lengua a la poesia


  1. when you say you can never rightfully call yourself, an activist--what does that mean? what legitimizes this way in which to identify? isn't this what you always talk about--the "undocumented" i see that you words in your poetry are what documents you as an activist...am i not a poet although i dance? or not a writer?

    we are all these things. &it's things like documentation, degrees, the concept of legitimacy that separate us from who we really are...and pin us down on to that which others only say about us.

    1. What I mean is that real change comes from activist like these kids which I talked about here. Activism requires a certain level of sacrifice and of danger, either physical danger from police or other forms of violence or danger of reprisal from governments. That element of putting yourself in the line does not come with writing and thus I, as writer cannot rightfully call myself by that label. I am not risking anything by writing.

      That doesn't mean that these ideas don't have consequences. The work of artist does have a consequence and it is futile to measure it. I am not agonizing over this issue. A writer can do alot to change the situation but no change will come from the writing of a poem or like wise from voting every four years for the same two parties which really aren't that different from one another