Sandra Noel


May Day Seattle

Signs and voices reminding us
America once welcomed her immigrants
until we didn’t need them any longer
the Chinese who built railroads
drilled seven mile tunnels
through our purple mountains’ majesty
for  the Great Northern and Union Pacific
then told to go home and put on ships
the ones who weren’t slaughtered on the shore.
Japanese farmers who prospered in this new land
until shoved into concentration camps
the ones forced to come from Africa
as slaves,  then slaves again to southern Jim Crow laws
here so long they fought for their rights
and finally won but
so much and so many were lost in the process.
Others come from Mexico
as long as we need them
to pick our apples and asparagus
or as long as it is politically expedient
then we build a wall
enact some laws that say America welcomes
only those who have their paperwork in order.
Driving while Hispanic is the new driving while black.

“Where is your identification?
What are YOU doin’ in this neighborhood?
Go home! Go to jail! Go to hell!” BANG!”

May Day in Seattle
and workers fill the streets
signs and voices remind us
we have this right to protest peacefully.
Anarchists with no real cause
do damage in their cute little ways
masked white boys and girls
in good shoes, well fed
(Remember the weathermen?)
Peter Pans and Wendys armed
with rocks and spray cans
“ Hey man, it’s the corporations!”
Hey man, it’s also you and me and all of us
together talking, singing, marching VOTING

Ghandi and Martin and Jesus
and Buddha and Aung San Suu Kyi

May Day in Seattle.
(I watched it from my couch.)

My day (and sometimes night) job is as a freelance illustrator/designer developing interpretive text and illustrations for environmental education exhibits. My passion is working with Alliance for Tompotika, an environmental organization involved in rainforest/community conservation work. I provide art and design for the group and have had the opportunity to teach art and ecology workshops for youth in SE Asia. My other passion is poetry– reading and writing it. Heart of Darkness, a narrative poem was published in In the Mist, Imagining Babylon in Paradigm and Imagine, Night visitor and Albatross in Barnwood International Poetry Magazine, Blessed in ProtestPoems, Heron, All for Marilyn and Tree Tonglen in Buddhist Poetry Review.

(author retains copyright)