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In the Americas, your start was bloody. It was based on the dispossession and genocide of the Natives as your men in long pants cackled in English, Portuguese, Spanish, French. Your men, after seizing the land, gold, and silver of the Natives, sat on various rocks, each with a boot on the neck of a Native, and acknowledging the similarity amongst themselves, fathomed themselves equal, if and only if, each group stayed within their own distinct geographical lines. To work the land, the long pants commandeered the then-called Negroes from Africa who worked sugar, tobacco, cotton, and gold. King Cotton doubled the independence of the U.S., put Britain to work, and the industrial revolution was born. Your long pants in the United States puffed up with pride and were then quite content to exclude from their VIP club the irrational Portuguese, Spanish, and French, giving birth to the southern hemisphere below the Rio Grande. And those of us trapped in the U.S. who were Black, brown, non-white were deemed by your long pants and their allies in the long skirts to be in reality part and parcel of the southern hemisphere, groups that must be constantly controlled and monitored, even at times, assassinated.
You relegated Africa to permanent southern hemisphere status. Perennial. From here to eternity. After extracting millions of her most invincible and most-able bodied citizens, your long pants engaged in another bloodcurdling battle to part and parcel her territory, using #2 pencils with pink erasers, to both show the divisions where English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch would be spoken and to calculate which foodstuffs, minerals, chemical elements would be confiscated.
Your industrial revolution was birthed on our backs here in the south and on the backs of your workers up there. We wanted them to revolt in our favor, but the New Deal and Blue Deal handouts ceaselessly kept them appeased. And when you tired of the work stoppages and vociferous demands of your own workers, you simply shipped us their work so we could do it at 1/20th the price. We conspired revolt, but you slaughtered our revolutionaries. All in all, you live quite cozily up there with your air-conditioned malls, paved roads, and six hundred channels of cable. Quite unlike the poverty and pestilence of those of us here in the south.
Queen Market is your mistress. With distinctive and colorful banking symbols stitched on their shirts, the Queen is the matriarch the contemporary long pants and short skirts fawn over. Your former centers of colonialism have become metropolises where your bureaucrats, some bloated and some emaciated, sit for hours refinancing our debt. In your industrialized north, the debt was simply a way for the long pants to shackle your workers who are united not in their labor, but in their indebtedness. Their comforts have been deleted following the model you imposed on Chile. You then threw your college students in the indentured mix just for fun. To us you sent boxes of envelopes and a trail of emails delineating our IMF and World Bank IOU’s.
Born in Los Angeles, Audrey Shipp is an essayist and poet whose most recent writing appears in "Linden Avenue Literary Journal," August 2018 and "A Gathering Together," Spring 2018. Her bilingual and trilingual poetry appeared in "Americas Review (Arte-Publico Press)" which was formerly published by the University of Houston. She teaches English and ESL at a public high school in Los Angeles.
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