Image by Jason Riedy via Flickr Creative Commons

Poetry Corner – Oct. 2012

Edited by Richard Stone

Matt Ford composed this month’s poem while traveling in South America. He writes that “a Community Alliance ended up in my hands [sent by] a friend. It brought back beautiful memories and inspired the following poem.”

Oh, San Joaquin

Oh, San Joaquin. How I miss you
How your mountains give life to my spirit and keep me sane in the void of time
How your heat is eerily comforting in the loneliness of summer
And how your fog parts and lets me see down your quiet, empty roads of wisdom

But oh, San Joaquin, how I pray to the sacred mystery that the ag barons will not steal your remaining treasures
The forty-niners invaded and raped your rivers; and now they cry tears of blood
The salmon cannot see through your fog of dams; and they perish in your dry veins
Your grizzly bears have vanished; for your breast was stripped from their mouth
And the dark, sleepy oak trees weep in their monoculture homes
For the railroads are their horror movie; and the fertilizer fertilizes their infertility

Your cities repeat the tale of the tale of two cities
And the tale of your indigenous are no longer told in your cities
The colors of your human rainbow are being erased by the invasive species of prisons
And the slavery of the dollar has bred your children to enslave their mother

To save you, more will be needed than marching in the streets
Because the marchers go home, while you stay and weep
Picket signs must be broken, and made into tools of defense
Because obeying laws of destruction constructs incompetence

Oh, San Joaquin how I love you, and I’ll return in the winter
To my mother and my lover and your fog and your trees
Tonight the thoughts of you comfort me, as I’m here and you’re there
Your love nourishes my soul, and I taste you in the air

  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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