Remembering John Ross - Page 2

Great moments from the life of the poet, journalist, and unrepentant shit disturber



Coming out of the underground On the BART escalator, The Mission sky Is washed by autumn, The old men and their garbage bags Are clustered in the battered plaza We once named for Cesar Augusto Sandino. Behind me down below in the throat of the earth A rough bracero sings Of his comings and goings In a voice as ronco y dulce As the mountains of Michoacan and Jalisco For the white zombies Careening downtown To the dot coms. They are trying to kick us Out of here Again They are trying to drain This neighborhood of color Of color Again. This time we are not moving on. We are going to stick to this barrio Like the posters so fiercely pasted To the walls of La Mision With iron glue That they will have to take them down Brick by brick To make us go away And even then our ghosts Will come home And turn those bricks Into weapons And take back our streets Brick by brick And song by song Ronco y dulce As Jalisco and Michaocan Managua, Manila, Ramallah Pine Ridge, Vietnam, and Africa. As my compa OR say We here now motherfuckers Tell the Klan and the Nazis And the Real Estate vampires To catch the next BART out of here For Hell.

(from Against Amnesia, 2002)



If the eye

inside the camera

offends thee,

pluck it out,

pluck out the eye

pluck out the film,

smash the camera,

slash the images,

pour gasoline over those

who framed the images

then strike a match.

Make sure there are

no witnesses,

that those who look

for witnesses disappear.

Silence the people,

cut out the tongues

of those who would complain

about being silenced.

Swear on blazing bibles

that none of you

will ever tell anyone

what you have seen here.

Empty out the nation.

Bury those who insist on staying

in unmarked graves.

Pretend that no one

will ever know.

Turn off the lights.

Try to sleep.

(from Heading South, 1986)



The next child I won't father we will name

Nomathamba. We will call her Thembi for short

She will be exactly like Pharaoh drew her. She

Will smile several hours each day. Her teeth

Will come on like white Christmas. She will crawl

Into bed with us to see if we

Are fucking. She will never be scared. She will

Speak Xhosa. I will buy her a dog named Mardi Gras

And she will learn what it is to lose something

You love. She will grow up.

(Unpublished, undated)

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