This morning, I stared for a long time at the photo of President Barack Obama meeting with Cuban dissidents. I wondered: who decided who would be invited to the meeting? Do the gay activist and the Catholic lay leader often seek audience together? To whom can I — dissident of the United States — appeal?
This evening, the poem, APPLYING FOR CITIZENSHIP — read by author Ruben Medina, who has lived in the United States for forty years and is still considering becoming a U.S. citizen — spoke to the spirit of my morning questions. He read his poem to a crowd of eight at the Loft Literary Center. You need to buy the book to see the proper format and read it all – but here is a taste:
Here, my fellow citizens are my conditions.
English-only speakers should pay higher taxes
The welfare system should be abolished for big corporations
America should be dropped from the name of this country
Absentee ballots should be allowed for undocumented workers only …
The White House should be moved to Puerto Rico, The Congress to Harlem, the United Nations to Wounded Knee….
Half of the billboards in the country should be given to poets or anyone who wants to imagine the nation, the other half to children.
People who say this is the greatest country in the world should do volunteer work for the homeless, sing the national anthem backwards or attend every death sentence carried out in the nation….
Commercials on TV should be limited to one minute every hour ….
The Cuban National baseball team should play in the major leagues….
All military forces in foreign lands should return within 30 days.
This morning I voiced my dissent by tossing the morning paper, yelling at my radio. This evening I listened, and felt vindicated.
You should have been there.
* Ruben Medina, Nomadic Nation / Nación Nómada – Cowfeather Press, 2015.