Monday, August 09, 2010

Arizona Lamentation

A poem by Luis Alberto Urrea

We were happy here before they came.

This was always Odin's garden,
a pure white place.
Cradle of the Saxons,
birthplace for the Norsemen.

No Mexican was ever born in our lands
until their envy and racial hatred
forced us to build a border fence.
But they kept coming.

There were never Apache villages here--
we never saw these Navajos, Papagos,
Yaquis. It's a lie. Until their wagons
kept coming and coming. And their soldiers.

We worshipped at the great god's tree.
We had something good here.
We had family values and clean sidewalks.
Until those savages came, until they took this dream

and colored it.

AZ SB1070

[Luis Alberto Urrea is a 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction and member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame. Three of his books (Into the Beautiful North, The Devil's Highway and The Hummingbird's Daughter) have been chosen by more than 30 different cities and colleges for One Book community read programs. Urrea lives with his family in Naperville, IL, where he is a professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago.]

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