Poets Against Hate-Lawrence Matsuda

Just a Short Note to Say Something You Already Know 

 — For Donald’s Daughter, Ivanka Trump

Ivanka, in a different time and place,
you and your children are squeezed into
cattle cars destined for Nazi death camps.
Stars pinned to your coats
and numbers tattooed on your arms.
Religion is your crime, something like
the 120,000 Japanese Americans whose race
incarcerates them during World War II.

If you dodge head shaving,
and starvation, maybe a country
would welcome you.

Angel of death is difficult to slip,
unfortunates are turned away,
chased by verbal brickbats and pitchforks.
You smell freedom’s scent
but only glimpse porthole view
of Lady Liberty’s tantalizing torch.

Doors slam and hands
of kindness withdraw.
You are not among privileged
huddled masses.

Today as a 1% American demographic,
you are safe by an accident of birth.
Others less fortunate, however,
stand on precipices knowing,
“History does not repeat
itself but it rhymes.”*

When Donald promises
a magnificent Great Wall
and spews religious
hatred to cheering crowds,
you must feel a guilty twinge
knowing if this were 1943 Germany,
a chorus of incendiary voices
would echo and push innocents
off slippery cliffs into eternal darkness.
Black hole so forbidding victims
never see their children again
as the self-serving politicians parade
on bandwagons swerving on and off
a broken highway of eight million bones.

—Lawrence Matsuda

*________________________________
Quote attributed to Mark Twain.


Lawrence Matsuda, January 2016—in memory of my parents who were incarcerated during WWII because of their race, and my Hiroshima relatives who were among the first to be incinerated by an atomic bomb.