Eons before it was named
Берингов пролив, Beringov Proliv
They crossed the Bering Strait in scarce humanoid lines flogged by
Harsh winters and evil snowwinds.
Eons before the conventions of time and the gluttony of geo-political marshals divided both
Diomede Islands, the Big and the Little -like
                         Dippers riding the black heavens parsecs apart-
Into strange enemies a day apart,
They, with the skins of bears for labarums and the bows of blood for banner,
Parted the ice and the beasts, walked on water and skyfire to cross the earthgates of
America and founded a new civilization.
            They owned a gleaming generation and carried on the commandment:
“Grow and multiply! Conquer the land with all its animal kingdoms!”
The arcane Spirit branded their souls
Sedna! Sila! Nanook!
Varied were the gods populating their Kosmos
Santee! Yankton! Lakota!
And they hunted the caribu and the white bear, the seal and the whale
For food not for sport, the Eaters of Raw meat
“Remain close to the Great Spirit, Show great respect for your fellow beings”
The same commandments embedded on the rock by another Great Spirit in the East
The same commandments were broken, not in the tablets, but on the souls and backs
Of entire generations, on generations as numerous as stars and grains of sand
As large as galaxies roaming the universe and suns roaring the skies
            To this day

And some continued to the south, to the buffalo and the fish
Iroquois, Kilatika, Pepikokia, Wea
            Until the French arrived and cannibalism reigned
And Harrison crucified Tecumseh at the Fallen Timbers
And the Kekionga refugees lost generation after generation
            Throats cut by the blade, brains exploded by the arquebuse

But  they kept coming, from Britannia, Scandinavia and Castile
Like an army of killer ants they swept the land from East to West claiming possession of God’s mandate
Given in the East
Barring the Nations through obliteration and alcohol, barring their own kind through money and power
Spilling their own entrails in Wars and Banks
            These are the industries Civilization promote
                        These are the Commandments Moses proclaimed and they pissed on
Ah! The Albion Trojan horse! Ah! The Purity of death, ah! The wingflaps of Luther, Calvin, and Arbella!
Let’s define the new Americans as “free white persons”
Let’s declare German the official language to teach in public schools
Let the Irish Potato Famine and failed European revolutions expunge generations
            Let a new import product be born: entire generations of African slaves

Frederick Douglass received one bushel of corn meal a month plus eight pounds of pork or fish
Guadalupe Hidalgo makes the Southwest a new territory upon the skulls and bones of generations
See how the Know Nothings push for citizen prohibitions:
Generations of Chinese: out!
Generations of Lunatics: out!
Generations of the Diseased: Out! Out!
Generations of the Public Charge: out! Out!
Generations of Illiterates: out!
Generations of Women who marry an Asian: out! Out! Out!
And Braceros have to shut their brown mouths –two generations
And Communists have to shut their red mouths –one, two, three generations
And Wetbacks have to dry their asses –one, two, three, four generations
And Korematsu has to shut his yellow mouth –one generation
            Ask them in the camps of
Manzanar:       Korematsu!     error coram nobis!
Poston:                        Hirabayahsi!   error coram nobis!
Minidoka:       Yasui!             error coram nobis!
            Ask Luis Fernandez, from Mexico, found asphyxiated in the boxcar that crossed Harlingen along with other fifty corpses
-one generation
            Ask Ixem Onam Sotoj and son, from Guatemala, who sold a kidney to pay Coyotes to cross him over the river  
Me duele papa!
-two generations
Ask Maria Rodriguez, from Nicaragua, who crossed on a tube eight months pregnant falling in and getting out of graves at night and had to let go of Ana Mendez from Honduras and her 80 year old broken body, to make it
Apurate vieja!
-three generations
Ask Juan Garcia, from Cuba, who saw his wife being ripped apart by hungry sharks,
    Who ate his dead friend thigh and drank his own urine in order to survive,
        Who was rescued at sea half dead, left as dead by the Castro Army
–four generations,
agua! Agua!
Ask Monica Salazar from Colombia, who had to loan her body to the immigration officers to let her through while her daughter Elba, three years old, watched on not understanding
–five generations
Abrí  las patas puta!
Ask Roger Alcala, from El Salvador, whose first and only assignment was to murder his cousin in order to belong to the Mara Salvatrucha  and cross to the other side
Bang! Bang! Bang!  Four generations
Ask Yesenia Gratereaux, from Haiti
            Selling her ass in the streets of Paris
And Mirjana Nikolic, from Slovenia
            Sex slave in a brothel in Istanbul
And Asled Thuku, from Kenya
            Corrupted prostitute since age eight in a suburb of Moscow
And Tina Ng, from Viet Nam
            Former journalist languishing in a jail in Pyongyang
And Ketema Desta, from Eritrea
            Executed by a firing squad in Addis Ababa for writing a novel
And Amina Abduladif, from Yemen
            Sentenced to death by stoning for allowing herself to be raped
How many more generations?
How many more, when Wonderland morphs into a reign of omnipresent drugs,
and stupidifying TV novelas
and incongruous petro-wars,
and paltry music,
and meager standards,
and tudo vale,
and spineless politicians,
and Christian charlatans,
and horoscope gurus,
and all genus of civil rights but no duties
and spurious lawsuits,
and merchant physicians,
and Baron Wall Street CEOs  rewarded with hefty bonuses stolen from broken banks
and smashed real estate markets
and lifeless legislators,
and hung juries for corrupt judges,
and ravenous unions
and contested elections
and countless bodies blown up in Pakistan
Damniato memoria! Dictator of the right, for lying to my generation and my father’s generation!
            And throwing dozens of live prisoners into volcanic craters
Damniato memoria! Dictator of the left, for betraying my generation and my children’s generation!
            And ravaging the riches of a poor country
Damniato memoria for a thousand generations!


They keep coming from the South to the North
            See how fisherman Hakeem from Algeria is crammed in a boat to Spain
Ewe Mola twepushe na mahasidi
They come from the East to the West
            See how Argeta Barjaba from Tirana sells peanuts in the streets of Rome
They come through from sea and land
La liberté éclairant le monde

And within each generation rests the seed of hope
And it allows Francisco Ortega to build a pharmaceutical empire
And Carlos Perez to build a real estate emporium
And Rahul Gupta to win full scholarship to Harvard Medical School
And Werner von Braun to build an infernal weapon to win the war
And Charles Simic to be the 15th laureate poet
For the good outweighs the bad
And the true outweighs the false
And the beautiful outweighs the ugly
And the Great Spirit makes alive all his ten commandments within each generation▪

A poet, anthologist and translator, Danilo Lopez holds an MFA from the University of Texas-El Paso. He has published 7 poetry collections, the most recent being Dona Nobis Pacem and Extraña Ciudad. He lives in Miami, Florida with his wife Kristabel.

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