Arizona Lamentation


We were happy here before they came.

This was always Odin's garden,
a pure white place.
Cradle of Saxons,
birthplace of Norsemen.

No Mexican was ever born here
until their racial hatred and envy
forced us to build a border fence.
But they kept coming.

There were never Apache Villages here--
we never saw these Navajos, Papagos,
Yaquis. It's a lie. Until their wagons
kept coming and coming. And their soldiers.

We worshipped at the great god's tree.
We had something good here.
We had family values and clean sidewalks.
Until those savages kept coming, took our dream

and colored it.

AZ SB1070


Anonymous (not verified)

Beautiful. Sad that some will *never* comprehend what you have said. Ironic that Richard of Cambridge thinks he sees, but misses entirely the point of the poem. Which in itself, sort of *is* the point of the poem...

Anonymous (not verified)

I see SB1070 as a reaction being like what happened the community that I was born in which at the time had doors left unlocked and cars parked with keys in the ignition. Then all of a sudden break ins exploded and car theft. The change was sad abnd it took some getting used to as people trust disappeared and things got worse. Realistically however the people had to first lock doors then build grills over windows and take their keys after locking their cars. The people who acted improperly by robbing houses and cars motivated a change towards undfriendliness and distrust that was sad but without the self protection by the islanders things would be even worse.

Richard Bond
Cambridge, Ma
St. Croix USVI

kathryn (not verified)

Reading this poem I think of my grandmother, who grew up in a cold water flat in the Bronx. It reminds me of the time she told me that she went to public school for one day and never returned. She was too poor to buy a new dress, and she felt tremendous shame for not having fresh clean clothes. Of course, she was stared at and singled out for being dirty.

As always, Luis, it is an honor to be able to read and comment on your work. This poem makes a powerful statement. I hope it will be read far and wide.


Add new comment

Book club members have been some of my most enthusiastic and careful readers. I’m thrilled to share my work with you, answer your questions and tell you some of the stories behind the stories. This is our spot, just for us. Here, we can chat:  If I’m nearby, I’ll come and visit your club. Otherwise, we can Skype, talk over the phone or email. Sometimes, I’ll send surprises or hold contests.

Tell us all about your book club!
Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.