Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Carla Williams-Namboodiri Features 5/20/19

5/20/19   Carla Williams-Namboodiri hosted by Bruce
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Carla Williams-Namboodiri is a humanities teacher and former journalist. Carla's manuscript novel, South Side Blues, set in her hometown of Chicago in the 1970's,was recently named a semi-finalist in Hidden River Arts inaugural Tuscarora Award for Historical Fiction. She will be reading from new work, On Bus Line No. 6, a play in three acts, as well as poems (see below)


Tell Me Again


By Carla Williams-Namboodiri


What did you say?
Say what?
Tell me again what you mean
When you say
Make America great again


Do you mean great
Like the buffalo that roamed
the prairies of my heart
Or the once crystal clear
Great Lakes?


Or great like the voice
Of Tecumseh, who warned,
“Brothers, the white men came among us feeble, and now we have made them strong”


No, that doesn't really sound like who or what you mean


Tell me again what you mean,
When you say you want to build a wall
To keep our lives from coming in
Against the laws those great forefathers
Wrote to steal land Fair and Square


Can you explain, in polite terms,
Where and how you made
America
Was it before the Civil War or after it?
Was it when the Constitution
Settled on counting Africa’s children
As the three-fifths human
Or after blood and terror
Set us free?


Do tell, just once more,
Is your great America lily white,
With small apartheid “black spots”
Reserved for first nations,
“Hispanic-Latinos” and “inner-city blacks”


Or is it a modest version
Of a whitewashed college campus
After rolling back affirmative action
Rolling back to them good old days, ain’t it?


Down at the country club
Or was it the golf club,
With that private spa,
With the black attendant


How fun it was!
How he had to hold the towel,
while you jiggled your pecker,
And how you all called him Charlie Brown, laughing together


Though his name was Charles Brownstone,
After his father the master mason,
Like his fathers before him,
Who worked to buy freedom


Tell me once more,
What you really mean
About “Make America Great Again”
Do you mean like,
The Beach Boys
Or Chuck Berry singing,
“Rock and Roll Music,”
Crisscrossing color lines


When you say America,
It does not sound
Like me saying it


When you say
make it great
It sounds like
screams
Of nuclear bombs
On Hiroshima & Nagasaki


Nothing at all like the greatness
Promised
By the truths we hold
To be self-evident
That we are all equally
Endowed with
Certain liberties


The America of which you speak
Was discovered
By Christopher Columbus
Who got lost
Because he thought
The world was flat


Carla Williams-Namboodiri is a writer and humanities teacher working on surviving the next four years.