Others and Them

For Beltran

Me?  I burn schools
and hack with machetes,
circumspectly drop the bagged
bomb on the rush hour train
and raucously shoot
girls wailing in midnight cinemas.
Me?  I swelter on boats
and drown in rich seas,
walk far to beg
and peddle and pilfer.
Me?  I stamp papers
or call the cops,
nibble nachos watching pain
or stand in the morning rain
chanting “A people united
cannot be defeated”
with a small circle of friends.
I could be anybody,
but today I think
I’ll be you.

J. Tarwood began as a dishwasher and ended as a teacher. He’s lived in East Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. His books are And For The Mouth A Flower, Grand Detour and The Cats In Zanzibar. He has always been an unlikely man in unlikely places.