Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"A Kind of Patriotism" by Russell Lum and "I Pledge" by Carlos Rodriguez

This site will, from time to time, be an original outlet for poetry by Carlos Martín Rodríguez and Russell Lum.  Some of these poems will take as their starting point (or as some sort of prompt or inspiration) a work by the visual artist Malaquias Montoya.  Whether utilizing Montoya or not, these words hope to respond to the reality of—and contribute to the making-sense-of—living in the urban desert.  This is the first pair in the series.

"A Kind of Patriotism" 
By Russell Lum 

There is
that one line in that one Atmosphere song. 

I love this fucking country.

Here’s what pleases me: New York, LA, Chicago. 
What’s more: open space, great plains, national parks.
 If that massive basin of red—Canyonlands—
is a national park, what is a park?
We have enough parking lots
and industrial parks
to belie and shame our fondness for wild parks.
A nation of parks.
(A nation of cars.)

There is
that title of that one book. 

Cadillac Desert.

I like Cadillacs and I love deserts.
Funny how “Cadillac Desert” can be an indictment.

I guess I’m a Californian?
Because I want to drive a Cadillac into the desert, vote to protect National Parks, and fly to Chicago or New York. 

How did I get so typical?
How did I get so patriotic?
(Don’t ask me my inclinations toward ball parks.)

Yes, I love this fucking country—
and my impetus in loving it is not purely environmentalist, nor environmentalistically purist.

So I’ve got an old worry and a new one.
The old: logging, drilling, species loss, parts per million.
The other: I’m accruing too many things in common with the people who not only love the country but love the nation.

Is that the winning distinction? 
between country and nation.

Hard on all of us (literally), it breaks us all up (literally)
that this country is subject to this nation.
Canyonlands deserves better than these United States.
The nobleness of Colorado’s mountains belies and shames that of the State of Colorado.

I want to ask but I know the answer.
My fellow lovers of our cities, of flying, of driving, of parks of several kinds,
will you love the atmosphere? 

'I pledge'
By Carlos M Rodriguez

I pledge allegiance to the tears and to the sweat and to the blood

Of those that united their human limit
And human ache
And human passion
To the mercenaries of the spirit

I pledge my soul

My flesh
My histories and my futures

To the soldiers draped in their mothers wet kisses from the heartland of America 
Valiant enough to connect their mother’s love to the love of tears of the mothers
Of Mesopotamia

Who saw their children’s futures
Destroyed in the palaces and huts and strategic war rooms
Of the powerful

I pledge allegiance to the Republic of those that still believe in a Republic
Brazen enough to walk humbly and reject a check

‘I will not be sold’  

they whisper to themselves in the little light
that still remains

I pledge allegiance to the one nation
of the earliest alarms
precursors of a future
working the land
opening the shop
assembling in the factory

this is my nation
the nation under
And beside God
Inside God
God inside

'I pledge'

God dead with us on a war zone or subway ride
who cannot help but remain
and whose biggest most tenacious obsession 

to continue to pledge allegiance to us all.

"To see the original print this poem draws its inspiration from by Malaquias Montoya please go to this link http://www.malaquiasmontoya.com/prints27.php"

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