Viva Wisconsin

Frozen tamales,
snow cones on trees,
cars stuck in caca blanca
Latinos in caribou coats
back home after 20,000 years, 
and some had never left:
Es la cagada, hombre!
What is thiiiis?
Some of these pinche mojados
do not even speak español!
said a Mexican man
in the supermarket.

Cool summer evenings
in camps on the farms,
trailers or barracks,
Mamá made tortillas
w/ meat in chili sauce,
holy frijoles and arroz!
Under the hot northern sun
pick peppers and cucumbers
or groom Christmas trees,
other crops the machines
can’t handle—yet:
Ay!  La Migra!
Everybody to scram!

Free health care,
free education, 
free abortion,
yet twelve people living
in a two-bedroom apt.,
pregnant teenagers
working full-time jobs
and caring for hermanitos,
no time for school for some,
for the heavy hand of
los South-side Locos
is recruiting . . .

Warmth from within,
whether simple love
for fellow humankind or
a beaten heart beating in a chest—
I got two jobs, woman!
Two families to support!
What more you want?

Field workers and social workers,
doctors, priests and cooks,
politicians, lawyers and crooks,
students, artists, poets, and
the displaced salt of the earth, 
father, children and wife
striving for a better life,
like the European immigrant hordes
of yore, this mass of humanity,
maybe someday
we’ll all get it right . . .


Dave Benson is from Baltimore, MD, and Madison, WI.  He writes poetry in English, Spanish and French, and tries to write poetry that is accessible to everyone.  Recent poems appear in the online journals Locust Magazine and Yahara Prairie Lights, and he enjoys reading at Mother Fool’s coffee house in Madison, at the Madison Winter Poetry Festival, and at the Deforest Public Library.