‘[esta semana santa]’ by Barbara Jane Reyes

I found this piece in a book my friend Vickey gave to me before she moved out of town. The poem spoke to me because of how raw and disturbing it is and what it says about humanity at times. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

it is the season of penitence worshipping white messiah our village

boys do esta cauresma the church turns away we chant because the

city man who owns our rice fields demands more and more so our

boys whip their backs leather tipped with sharp metals their field

worn palms blood lashed five-inch iron nals dipped in alcohol

just few moments hanging good show say flashbulbs popping

sunburnt white people barely hold down their lunches they weep

these people are barbaric how does it come to this so sad they point

digicamcorders sad bleeding boys

haven’t we always captivated travelers and social voyeurs black

saturday soul searching redemption of scattered flocks epic-singing

on all continents in a language our children no longer recognize

otherwise our villages are quaint

just quiet, and quaint.

– taken from Poeta en San Francisco (2005)

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