(Emulation of “Poema de Amor para los Guanacos” by Roque Dalton)
The ones who pick fruit, vegetables, carve slaughterhouse flesh, scrub floors and
restaurant dishes, trim garden plants, harvest orchards and vineyards, cook and
labor 12 hours a day, care for someone’s children, push fabric and food into the whir
The ones who endure psychological torment if they step out of their neighborhoods.
The ones who live hidden in gated jasper mansions.
The ones whose homelands have been occupied by transnational trade agreements.
The ones forgotten as unions and politicians yarn about a living wage.
The ones who fight for wobbly shade and lukewarm water in the fuming sun while
bosses lounge on dollar bill adirondacks.
The ones whose children face the blade of cutbacks first while our economy dances
on stilts made of their skin and bone.
The ones who disappear in the border prison profit system, deemed invisible by the
law, forsaken by their home governments in border gulags.
The ones who gleam gilded harvesting crops to feed America like a compassionate
Christ on the mount feeding multitudes with inexhaustible baskets.
The ones who build civilizations with corn and blood.
My sisters and brothers
My aunts and uncles
Ricardo Juan Tavarez
Ricardo Tavarez is a Bay Area resident who works with Oakland youth as a writing instructor. Ricardo cofounded Pan Dulce Poets SF at La Reyna Bakery and is part of La Brigada, a collective that organizes the International SF Flor Y Canto Literary Festival. Ricardo has supported himself with different jobs that include barista, janitor, translator, food server, construction worker, music archivist, and substitute teacher.