Posts Tagged ‘Arizona’

Moving to Arizona

Posted: July 9, 2010 in Poetry, Rant
Tags: , ,

CONTEXT: May, 2010

Sometimes I just get mad about stuff and want to write about it. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.

This one worked out.

The state of Arizona is bringing in a new law that instructs police to request ID from anyone who they have ‘reason to suspect’ is not in the U.S. legally.

Look at all the problems with that. First off, normally you are not required to carry ID if you are not operating a motor vehicle. Now you will have to carry ID if there is any chance that the police might ask for it. So who will have to carry ID? Brown people, of course.

Take context out for a moment… now picture this on the streets of Ottawa or Toronto instead. A police officer comes up to someone and says, “Show me your ID, please.” That person says, “Why?” Well, first off, the officer no longer has to GIVE a reason why, other than saying “to make sure you are here legally.” That gives them carte blanche to do WHATEVER THEY WANT.

Now, look again. You just gave those police the right to ‘detain and question’ based on skin colour or accent. Really? Is this okay with anyone?

Well, not with Obama. You see, immigration is under federal jurisdiction. This Arizona law isn’t LEGAL ANYWAY!


    Moving to Arizona

I’m moving to Arizona!
I’m leaving all my worldly
Goods behind
And jumping aboard a Greyline
And when the border guard
Asks me the purpose of my visit
In the land of Diamondbacks
And cacti.
I’m sure he won’t bat an eye
Because I look like a
Trust-worthy soul, and I have
All the proper ID
But when I get there I will make
A bonfire
And toss in my passport,
Driver’s licence, health card
And anything else that shows
My country of birth.
I’ll emerge from the bonfire
Reborn and renewed
Like a Phoenix in Phoenix
Settling into my new role
As Illegal Immigrant.
Then I will sit back and wait
For someone sporting a badge
To ask to see my papers.

You see Arizona has a new law
Coming to be
That instructs police officers
To request ID
From anyone who they might suspect
Of being there illegally.
So, when will they question me?
Won’t it be obvious that
My northern glow that has
Developed after generations of
Scrounging for Vitamin D
Is not at home in the desert sun?

But no, I expect that the eye of
The law will not stray to me.
‘Suspicion’ will only be roused
By skin that is brown
And accents that indicate
That “Y’all aren’t from around
Here” even though ‘Hispanics
And Latinos’ make up 29%
Of the state’s citizens.
Those police won’t be questioning me.
I’ll be home free
And if you are legal
Why would you care about
Showing ID?
They just need to ensure
No disreputable sorts are
Checking in for a ‘better life’
Like clean water
Access to food and Obama’s
New health care
And if the price of that
Is a police state, isn’t that
A price we are willing to pay?

Put aside the moral righteousness
Of restricting access across
An imaginary line
That is only meaningful
In relation to the rules created
To protect it.
Instead look at investing the powers
With the right
To detain and question
Based on the colour of
Your skin.
I’ll be standing on a corner
In Winslow, Arizona
With a red maple leaf
Tattooed on my forehead,
Garnering no attention from
The thin blue line
That separates the citizenry,
Not the legal from the illegal,
But the white from the brown
With legal status being an
Because not carrying papers
Is a crime, just like in those
Cold War movies on the wrong
Side of Checkpoint Charlie.

But pity the police.
They have been handed a law
That can only be enforced
By being acting racist,
So let’s make this easier on
Them, with a NEW law
That is in keeping with their
Immigration Enforcement
From now on, anyone who is not
American-born, or whose parents or
Grandparents were not American-
Born (or at least hailing from a
Country whose people look like the
Official image of what it is to be
Must affix a badge on their
Chest, not in the shape of a star
But in the shape of a Phoenix
Sun, to ensure only the right
People are incriminated.

But you don’t need to worry about me.
I will be fine.
Because first they came for the Latinos
But I was not Latino,
So I said nothing.


Next is a poem inspired by a kid in a high school I visited in Markham.