Wednesday, May 26, 2010

arizona goddam! (17)

arizona goddam!

alabama's gotten me so upset
tennessee made me lose my rest
& everybody knows about
mississippi goddam…
nina simone

dos cabesas, yr steep mountain slopes & granite
outcroppings, yr vegetated canyon floors provoke
strong feelings of arousal, attraction, & yes,
even love by more than just the white-tailed &
mule deer or eagles, golden & bald, the ranging
mountain lion, the beautiful collared lizard &
the peregrine falcon. u, dos cabesas, are,
indeed,a love object for arizona natives
imprinted by the wilderness with its uncultivated
spaces,its searing heat with that eerie desert
dust on its winds, a narcotic that makes them
susceptible to quaint hallucinations (daylight
savings time is a bolshevik plot),conservative
& highly distrusting of government. (goddam!)
where lawmen under the influence of frontier
fancy could take a hapless but convenient
outlaw straight from the lyrics of their state
song, a befuddled recidivist burglar named
ernesto arturo miranda, compel from him a
rape, etc., confession, make him write it down
& sign papers with a printed certification that
he “voluntarily & of my own free will, with no
threats, coercion or promises of immunity…” &
“full knowledge of … his)…legal rights” made
that confession, but failed to inform him of
his right to have an attorney present & of his
right to remain silent.(goddam!)
where in a season that saw even ronald reagan
bow to the inevitable winds of change by signed
the king holiday into law, three house republican
arizonans, including an “unevolved” john mccain
& that doyen of true american conservativism,
senator barry goldwater voted unequivocally no!
state lawmakers like sand lemmings followed suit.
babbitt, not sinclair lewis’ vacuous protagonist,
but a governor doing the right thing, signed an
executive order declaring a paid king holiday.
but 7 months & 24 days later, soon-to-be-
impeached evan mecham rescinded that order
in one of his first acts as governor! (goddam!)
rising from a searingly dry tropical airmass,
pulled northward by low-pressure cells moving
eastward across the two-head's wilderness
echoing off the sulphur springs & the san simon
valleys came a venal & corruptible voice calling
out to arizonans with the arrogated authority of
i am that i am: “i guess king did a lot for the
colored people, but i don’t think he deserves a
national holiday.” but the rocks surely cried out
in protest & boycotts. all manner of stones,
pythagorean frozen music, released their song
with stevie wonder singing lead --hapy birthday
to yuh -- public enemy struck back, the nfl
relocated the super bowl & arizonans, kicking &
screaming, capitulated in ’92 (goddam!)
where even the wind that competes at dusk
to be heard with the yips, barks & howls of
coyotes in telltale yellow desert coats, weeps &
wails in uncertain english even tho’ placed for
a year in english immersion classes where
languages other than english were banned from
speech. brainfried arizonans insist that the
speech of the alligator juniper, the bitter condalia
& crucifixion thorn, the catclaw & even the skunk
bush had better be the same as that which arose in
england & southeastern scotland; that they
obsequiously subordinate their mother tongues,
their identity & culture, for to speak a language
other than english is nothing more than a social
behold arizonans, the behemoth that u have made,
rising out of the desert, so mean, & abrupt of
emotion – & so unlike that mighty torch-bearing
mother of exiles on a distant shore who verily
welcomed the poor & the homeless. this shire reeve
golem of single eye & foul disposition casts his
all-seeing search light glance to expose & extirpate
all illegals wherever they might be found, especially
in the ghostly golden gate barrio, in cuatro milpas,
or in any of the barrios historicas that housed the
brown laborers who built yr streets & towns, yr
canals, laid tracks for trolleys & trains that brought
in the droves of undocumented anglos who
overwhelmed the indigenous population! (goddam!)
what have u done, arizonans? the adam of yr labors
has run amok & points proudly back to the womb
from whence it came – that monster matrix of
racism, red-baiting,anti-government sentiment &
resentment of anything progressive, whose birth
juices reek of hatred & calumny – back to u & yr
guiltfear, yr paroxysmally parochial thinking. it has
engorged on a steady diet of rights violations, english-
only legislation, reasonable suspicion & belief, & now
it stalks like a grotesquery seeking to devour the
interdisciplinary study of racialized peoples, latinos
& chicanos in particular. what makes u think, brain-
fried arizonans, that it won’t turn on & devour u?

©Joseph McNair;2010


  1. I think that if Arizona doesn't correct what their doing its going to have a huge negative impact on them in the future. i understand what they're trying to do but they need to develope a better way of trying to figure out the illegal immigrants. what they have preposed is basically racial profiling, that police officials have the right to pull you over on suspicion of being an illegal alien. citizens and tourists will feel incredibly offended if they happend to be pulled over on suspicion based on a single officer. i think that they will eventually lose tourism and perhaps some of the lega citizens of Arizona will move to a different state. so if Arizona doesn't want it to come to that then they need to sit down and formulate a new idea of "weeding" out the immigrants.

  2. This man who is speaking through the poem must have experecienced racism. He then I guess states that really the Arizonians can't understand the affect that it is having on them because they are actually not in it as he is or was.

    I guess the poem is trying to say that you really cannot understand what a person or people are going through or have gone through without being in their shoes.

  3. This piece is truly one written in an ironic tone. It commences with what seems to be describing a beautiful element of Arizona and of its entirety. However, within a few lines it begins to describe Arizona by its wrong doings. With commentary in reflection of John McCain and of Arizona’s final agree to celebrate and commemorate Martin Luther King day, this poem in turns goes to describe Arizona through its darker side; a side that truly makes you question Arizona’s true intentions.

  4. This poem is about the new law that Arizona has decided to adopt, which grants police the right to ask anyone who is acting suspiciously for the papers to check if they are here illegally. The author of this poem feels as though this law is not right. He also feels a though Arizona has created a monster that will backfire on them. He feels that this law is inherently racism and laws like that do no good for society and this theory has proven to be correct. Such examples are laws of Segregation and the Jim Crow Laws. He feels this law has been spurred from feelings of fear which lead to irrational thinking and irrational laws.

  5. The poem Arizona Goddam, is definitely told from the perspective of someone who has experienced racism. It is a reaction of what is going on right now in Arizona. They start off by saying that this is necessary but it will surely turn into racial profiling. Racism is something that has been present not only in Arizona but all over the world. It’s just hard to believe that no matter how much time passes, some people still have those ignorant thoughts. Arizona has always had major issues with racism, and instead of getting better, it seems to be getting worse. Although, I do understand that immigration is a serious issue, they way they are going about it is inhumane, and it needs to stop before matters get even worse.

  6. This poem seems to be written by someone who has been through a lot. Whether the writer was a victim of racism or not, Arizona is to be blamed for what is going on right now. They are trying to perhaps maintain control over the people and take out those who don’t belong, but if anything, they are creating more chaos. The manner in which they have chosen to “handle” things is incorrect. They are racial profiling people and suspecting that they are illegal aliens based on their appearance. It is not only degrading, but also embarrassing to live in a place that thinks of its people this way. Simply trying to eliminate people that “don’t belong” is not the solution for a better community or life. The only outcome I see in this is that it will create hatred among those who are culturally different from each other. Instead of progressing and moving forward, Arizona is going back to the messed up ways this world once was.

  7. “Arizona Goddam!” is about a couple of things that have been going on in the state of Arizona. He starts off describing the landscape and how nice it should be to live there. But then the poem takes a turn and starts discussing the negatives in the state, mainly having to do with their government. He talks about a man who is falsely accused of rape (because he was Hispanic), the outlawing of Martin Luther King Jr. day (because no matter how much he did for the colored, he doesn’t deserve a national holiday), among other things. Arizona seems to being going for an ethnical cleansing; I wouldn’t be surprised if they started having concentration camps.

  8. The "Arizona god dam!" is about how things was all good in Arizona then it went wrong. The people who are suppose to be the leaders are the ones doing the corruption. You talked a case where they wouldn’t let the individual have a say in the matter. Also there was a holiday where they wouldn’t let it become one “the Martin Luther king” which I really do not know why. The only reason I can see would be an issue of racism. Sure enough it seems like the way you wrote the poem you went through some racism in your life time.

  9. I think this poem mean that if Arizona does not be careful on what they are trying to do it might cause a serious impact on them and all over the country. I understand that they trying to find a way to figure out illegal immigrants to get them out of this country, but still I think they could come with a better plan to get that done. Because in my opinion there will be more crimes and I think it will not beneficiate the police officers. So, I think it would be better if Arizona could sit together and come with a much better plan.

  10. This poem express outrage at the state of Arizona its people and its laws. Instead of moving forward, Arizona appears to be regressing. With outright obstinate against change for racial justice, it appears that if it does not profit or if they have no threat of loss of revenues, they will not be motivated to transform. It appears that we will have to go "old school" on Arizona and have some civil right rallies and displays to help them see the light.

  11. Although it began with an ironic tone of the beauty and splendor of the state of Arizona the poet then turns and depicts the negative reflection on the PEOPLE(mostly the leaders)of the state.Meaning even though the state it's self has a physical charm, the politics are not the best.The poem seems as if it is an outcome of the situation going on in Arizona right now as well as past issues and concerns.