Friday, May 14, 2010

awaiting an appropriate provocation (14)

awaiting an appropriate provocation

tell me, arizonans, is a god or perhaps
some human demiurge supposedly
the author of your laws?

surely a god, for who else might godly
see thru’ layers of artifice & deception,
in honest toil, toned down actions & attire,
minimal human intercourse, capricious
movement, desperate concealment, the
furtive, undocumented heart?

whose nostrils can indeed detect the
stench of flight from custody or country;
the reeking infectious foreignness of
interlopers, who abide among us
fangfeeding off the fat of the land,
diminishing us all.

tell me, arizonans, are there among u,
like minos, those who commune with an
olympian sire? inspired to make laws

that bestow clairvoyance on lawmen,
enable them to clair-see “probable &
reasonable causes” in mexicans or
o.t.m.s who work the bean fields or
sinister sit on porches, in the back
of pickup trucks, in barrios & in

cantinas of historic ethnic enclaves or
those who don’t; who speak subversive
spanish, pantomime the tortilla & butter
truth about speedy gonzales, the frito
bandito, las posadas & la llorona or
any other appropriate provocation

for trivializing the human spirit --
por una noche de cristal fea,
arizona style.

©Joseph McNair; 2010


  1. I think this is a perfect example of protest against the Arizona law SB 1070. By enableling SB 1070 Arizona is going to create more problems then solutions. It is not going to be based just be suspicious behavior, it will eventually turn into racial profiling. Even legal citizens will fear being targeted and asked for their papers. A law is supposed to make its followers feel safe, this law however will do the exact opposite. Even further than that i think that the policemen will go further then what they are supposed to be doing and it will escalade to an act of violence. The citizens will not feel safer at all knowing that if a policeman thinks they are suspicious then they will be targeted based on that police officer alone.

  2. What this poem is about is the law that Arizona wants to pass that will allow police to card all suspicious looking people to see if they are illegal immigrants or not. J. McNair is clearly against this law. The message that he is trying to convey is that this law is discriminatory. The reason he feels this way is because it will elicit racial profiling. This will happen because police will affect every immigrant as described in the poem. Law enforcement or the law cannot decipher between the immigrant who is here illegally but pays taxes or has been here for years and the immigrant who has been here a few months and is the resident drug dealer. McNair feels this law is sprout up through law makers with bad intentions and if they really want to get the immigration problem under control this is not the way to go.

  3. This was a very touching poem, about the Arizona law. It provokes many emotions that express how wrong this law is. The beginning starts off by asking the law makers or Arizona if in fact they are a God, for only a God should be able to detect immigrants and treat them as if they are a lesser being. I was really touched by the end because it references the holocaust, and its mind boggling how no matter how many years pass racism is still visible. It seems that even though these immigrants have been here for years and have formed families, and live by the law there is no exception, they may be deported in the blink of an eye. It seems that this law will definitely bring more problems and this will eventually turn into racial profiling. It seems to be heading down the wrong road from the very start. It will make people start believing that they are “not as good as them” and this will generate even more racism.

  4. I am not really aware of what’s going on in Arizona but the poem give me some insight to what is happening with the immigrants trying to come into the US.I believe the people that come into the US are looking for freedom. When they landed in Arizona they see the land of opportunity and they want to do what they can to provide for them or even their family. They come over here and work for little or nothing because they have escaped from there they homeland. For the government to tell them they don’t belong here because they were born here is not right. Many of them come over here and do jobs that most Americans want do. Why not let the immigrants come over and start a new life with their family. I feel as long as they are being productive and not causing any violence in no way they should be able to stay in the US and live there life.

  5. Awaiting an appropriate provocation is a piece that not only goes to bring light to the darkened truth of the Arizona SB1070 but it goes to draw its connection to similar times in our history. This piece poses the questions that many keep to themselves and put into irony the basis for SB1070’s creation. This passage asks the question and speaks the thoughts many try to keep hidden from the public ear. It does what many yearn to do; speak the truth and question the authority.

  6. Awaiting an Appropriate Provocation is obviously mocking the fact that Arizona officials somehow think that they can train the law enforcement to ‘sniff out’ the bad guys, the ones who came into this country simply to destroy American society and all that it allegedly stands for. The second stanza states that it must be a god or god-like figure composing these laws to think that one man can look at another and determine if he is undocumented; even through all his positive attributes, the law enforcement will indefinitely be able to spot the illegal immigrants flaw. Somehow police will be able to sniff out the trouble makers and send them back to their countries, regardless of how established they are in America. So what if your whole family is in America and has become a citizen, if you aren’t they’ll smell you and deport you. The last stanza makes reference to the Nazi crystal night and how Arizona is going down a similar path.

  7. This poem is making reference to the new Arizona law just passed recently. This law targets anyone that "looks" suspiscious of performing criminal behavior. A police office has the authority to approach and ask for identification from anyone of latino or hispanic descent. This poem is expressing umbrage to this law. This poem is stating that this is not right and somehow is a form of racial profiling.

  8. Even though I am not very informed in this subject, this poem gave me a better insight as to what is occurring today. Whether you may agree with this or not, the matter of the fact is that it is happening and those who are not aware of it, should have an interest in it. I am having a difficult time agreeing with the way things are being handled. I believe that different measures could and should be taken to enforce these regulations. Overall, it is heartbreaking to imagine the tragedy families are going through right now. There are people out there who are married and have children and who are risking their family being torn apart. What is it that they are supposed to do other than wait in anticipation? Is this, in fact, the correct way to deal with this issue? Should we start deporting people who have already been living here for so many years? The same people who are doing the jobs that many of us would not even think twice about doing? Just like us citizens, these immigrants desire something bigger and better. They have dreams and are trying to reach for them while others are shooting them down.

  9. Well when I hard this poem I could tell that you are in the favor of the Arizonans. The first three lines basically are says who has the right to say where we can live "man" or a higher being. How that is human have the right to say where we should and should not do. As if now "man" is now a god telling and choosing where we must belong. The Arizona law Sb 1070 that is put in place for Arizonans is to me an unlawful thing to do because the immigrants are the one doing the lower jobs those others in the United States would do their selves. How can they just look at you and say you don't belong here to me I see it as being racist. Again in this poem you show that it is the people that are basically telling the immigrants how to live their lives.

  10. According to this poem, I think it tells you that J. McNair is against this law, it’s a way of discrimination and this law will turn into racial profiling. In my Opinion, I do not agree with it because I think they should been passed this law. Let's think about the mothers and fathers that are illegal in this country, and some of them have kids; Therefore, the government going to have to send them people back where they came from and those kids will grow up without a father or a mother. And I think there will be more crimes because those kids will not have anyone to talk with them or control them. However, I do not think this law affects legal residents who are living in the country. If u know that you are legal, there is nothing you have to worry about when you walking in the street.

  11. "tell me, arizonans, is a god"

    Viewing these words, you can understand exactly what is going on in this poem and in Arizona as well.
    The Arizonians basically are acting as a so called god. What does this mean exactly?
    They are controlling and making laws that are not supposed to be in their power.
    Who are these Arizonians to try to control a group of people just because they are different?

    Hopefully, protests will be made and this group of people will be able to live peacefully without being disturbed by those who view themselves as god.