Womp womp, by Donna J. Snyder

to Corey Lewandowski[1]

,,
1. Schadenfreüde
..
The little toe on the right foot is swollen. Thick with heat. Heavy. A dropped glass broke it last night, the second toe I’ve broken since mid-January. That one, unsplinted, has a new angle, like a road sign for a right turn ahead. That toe forks sideways from all the others that make little leftward-leaning stair steps from the big one down to the little one I broke last night.
..
I may have one toe that has never been broken. A few more have only been broken once. Others have been cracked, fractured, or deformed multiple times. You can laugh if you want. People do that, laugh at others’ pain, misfortune, and folly. Womp womp.
..
2. The callous few
..
Womp womp to my hot little toe on a bruised and battered foot.
..
Womp womp to a destitute child born with what may be called special needs.
..
Womp womp to the tortured and terrorized when turned away without the chance to petition for asylum, in violation of international law.
..
Womp womp to the starved and forsaken immigrant workers crowded into holding pens.
..
Womp womp to the panicked children whose cries are medicated away but never comforted.
..
Womp womp to those unlucky enough to be born into a world of Have Nots rather than that of private schools, personal jets, and designer clothes.
..
Womp womp to the children contaminated by poisons that will not be cleaned by Superfund or even not so super funds.
..
Womp womp to actors who dare draw a parallel between the children whose lives are now devastated to the barons born to the robbers, death merchants, and privileged.
.
Womp womp to comics who dare speak truth to power.
..
Womp womp to a little girl bullied for selling water in front of her home.
..
Womp womp to the sons gunned down because their very presence is deemed a threat.
..
Womp womp to the decline of a beautiful dream that gave rise to revolution throughout the world over 200 years ago.
..
Womp womp to the memory of Human Rights.
..
Womp womp to dead Heroes.
..
3. Are you paying attention?
..
Womp womp to clumsiness, bad luck, pain, and sorrow.
Womp womp to the misery of others.
Womp womp to you and me.
..
4. Do you understand?
..
Womp womp to you.
Womp womp to me.
Womp womp to every other.
Womp womp to everyone else.
..
[1] Corey Lewandowski
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski cynically dismissed concerns about reports that a migrant girl with Down syndrome had been separated from her mother at the southwest U.S. border as a result of the White House’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy. “Womp, womp,” Lewandowski said to fellow panelist Zac Petkanas during an appearance on Fox News Tuesday night after Petkanas, a Democratic strategist, said he had read about a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome “who was taken from her mother and put in a cage.”
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song of a cane flute by Donna Snyder

…we are the children of bridges, bridges made from our backs, our tears, our sacrifices, and from all the ones who never made it across with us…. Junot Díaz

low tones solid as her father’s sweet bread
high notes sing the vibrato of son jarocho
of a woman near tears but speaking still
words deep within the memory of cells

the cells are theirs
the lengua is theirs not mine
I can’t presume to speak their truth
yet their indomitable vigor lifts me up
fills with me with a sense of solidarity
a feeling of common purpose
and feelings need not be truth
but are still facts

the strength of la gente bears me up
out of the inundation of hate
their strength through persecution
through the suppression of truth
their unbroken backs carry me
across the chasm seen between us
a bridge between fear and resolution
inspiring me to be a revolution
this bridge called their backs

when I slip and fall I see shoulders and arms
rise up from where knocked to the ground
and those hands reach out to steady me
stand me on my own feet and take my hand
the gift of strength from one heart to another
a kind word from one tongue to another
the gift of memories not mine but shared

like the voice of a cane flute
calling out to the stars

..

Donna Snyder read this June 21, 2017 at Librotraficantes event, accompanied by Dr. David Romo. Written at a recent Tumblewords Project workshop led by Nancy Green.

song of a cane flute by Donna J. Snyder

…we are the children of bridges, bridges made from our backs, our tears, our sacrifices,
and from all the ones who never made it across with us…. Junot Díaz

low tones solid as her father’s sweet bread
high notes sing the vibrato of son jarocho
of a woman near tears but speaking still
words deep within the memory of cells

the cells are theirs
the lengua is theirs not mine
I can’t presume to speak their truth
yet their indomitable vigor lifts me up
fills with me with a sense of solidarity
a feeling of common purpose
and feelings need not be truth
but are still facts

the strength of la gente bears me up
out of the inundation of hate
their strength through persecution
through the suppression of truth
their unbroken backs carry me
across the chasm seen between us
a bridge between fear and resolution
inspiring me to be a revolution
this bridge called their backs

when I slip and fall I see shoulders and arms
rise up from where knocked to the ground
and those hands reach out to steady me
stand me on my own feet and take my hand
the gift of strength from one heart to another
a kind word from one tongue to another
the gift of memories not mine but shared

like the voice of a cane flute
calling out to the stars

A wave of a thousand bodies by Donna Snyder

Earth quake in Japan
(registered in Texas)
Gargantuan waves
Bodies and buildings swept to sea
On shore nuclear melt down
Fuel rods stripped and dry
No water but the excess sea
Japan assures its people and the world
everything is “contained”
Go, go Godzilla

A wave of one thousand bodies
On shore nothing but debris
The smell of Death
Officials report no more body bags
Overcapacity crematoria
No shelter
No water
No food

A wave of a thousand bodies
The land of a thousand cranes
The sins of someone else’s fathers
visited upon children born of the H bomb
Martial law
Travel restrictions
Entire towns obliterated
Nothing left but rubble
The smell of Death everywhere

And on the other side of the world
zealots speak of divine retribution
Denounce godless materialists and atheists
Pray to an angry father whose impenetrable greatness
is not at all complex to the true believers
a greatness that calls for scourge and animosity
and the smell of Death everywhere

Radioactivity spans the world in days
hits the Pacific coast of North America
The U.S.A. assures its people “No cause for alarm”
“Just a little soap and water
and all better” (says the U.S. Navy)

A precipitous drop in the Nikkei due to the calamities
Japan’s banks vow to flood money markets with yen
The projected costs of repairs are in the trillions
The temples of the gods of Hydrogen unappeased
Wall Street is insecure
Just how many more deaths can the market bear?

The per share cost of power
measured in terms of Hello, Kitty backpacks
abandoned by little girls lost to the sea

Published in the collection Poemas ante el Catafalco:  Grief and Renewal (Chimbarazu Press:  New York, New York 2014). 

Dead hands by Donna Snyder

The dead reach out across the desert,
burned like bricks by the enemy sun.

Beyond the corpses,
a litter of bottles emptied of life
makes a trail to the border with its gaudy signs.

Down the highway,
a panel truck hides its contraband behind a locked door.
Inside the odor of bodies warns the night sky
to open its arms to death’s bounty.

The desert stretches,
a merciless sea of boiled blood waiting for the coming sun.

Only the desperate
believe the lies of the coyote.
(Coyote tricked the Holy Ones out of their fire
and gave it to the People along with this scorched earth.)

Somewhere the names of workers are written
like beads between fingers.

Somewhere fields still and quiet
wait for dead hands to harvest poisoned fruit.

Published in the collection Poemas ante el Catafalco:  Grief and Renewal (Chimbarazu Press:  New York, New York 2014).  Previously published in Chrysalis, Unlikely Stories 2.0, and Boboland Cronicas.

The Sunday news by Donna Snyder

1.

From the Associated Press:
Dolphins found shot, slashed, stabbed, and missing jaws.
Mutilations and other injuries recorded in recent months.
One found dead near Gaultier had a hole made by a 9 mm bullet.
Scientists who study marine mammals report four recent strandings
and on a recent Friday, another dolphin dead on Deer Island,
a piece of his jaw removed.

This just in:
Nietzsche was right about God,
and I am left alone in an incomprehensible world.
Sentient creatures who might have the answer I seek
die bleeding peace into a dirtied ocean,
its waters fouled with despair that cannot be scrubbed clean.
Dateline Damascus:
Children and journalists mutilated and killed by bombs,
blown into the meaningless abyss of a zero sum game.
They failed to learn the rules of play.

In other news:
People shot, slashed, stabbed—
an endless litany of horror born of greed for capital or power.

Next up, commentary:
Nothingness lurks behind images and words.

2.

The tears of God fall brittle upon the fat of my cheeks
as from a frozen deity,
stripped of omniscience,
denuded of omnipotence,
omnipresent no more.
An arrowless quiver, the body unflung at its mark,
and I wait for the somethingness
born of the limbs of the mother of all gods.
She whose breast will protect me.
She who will take me into her brown arms and cover me
with a blanket of green
floating in a nearly endless blue,
spinning through the infinite dark.

Published in Poemas ante el Catafalco:  Grief and Renewal (Chimbarazu Press:  New York, New York 2014)

A neon desert the only sea by Donna Snyder

1.

Awareness moves to the right
Electric asters line a green sky
Brake lights baffle the eyes
(Are you paying attention?)
Traffic moves to the right

Think of Louisiana—
Think of Japan—
People disappeared
Structures on stilts still
can’t out walk the waves
Fissured world shifts in its sleep
as sure as the earth beneath your feet

This may be the only world we know
Secrets and lies in camouflage
The stranger’s smile all teeth and eyes
Detainees in your back yard
herded like cattle into the corralón
Downtown old men still hide
numbers tattooed on wrists
or nopales inked on foreheads

Catastrophe is our only home now
Dying cougars shot more dead
Unknown bodies beneath the ground
Spying soldiers spread across the sky
A neon desert the only sea
Even metals gone to driest dust
Hear the sound of air through shell
Scent of water glosses the lips of statues
Birds in tree tops sing departure
(There’s about to be an accident)
Our Mama on the wall wears green and blue
She stands on the moon
Blots out the sun

2.

Birds gather in tree tops praying
for all the people dead and gone
Dancers dance with feathers and shells
Mama’s starry cloak shelters her Son
with the nopal tattooed on his forehead

Pray for mercy
Pray for the woman who lives in a car
The detainees in our own back yard
Men with guns at every gate
People disappeared on the river edge
deprived of the solace of rivers and rocks
Our Mama damp with migrant workers’ sweat

Lights wander the other edge of darkness
Nothing sure but this earth beneath our feet
(Are you paying attention?)
Secrets and lies with teeth and eyes
This is your home now
Another day another catastrophe
It’s the only world we’ve ever known
Earthworks break into thunder claps
Random red lights baffle the eyes

Birds falling from the dying blue
Lost fish floating in the dying sea

Published in Poemas ante el Catafalco:  Grief and Renewal (Chimbarazu Press:  New York, New York 2014)
In 2014, Donna Snyder’s poetry collection, Poemas ante el Catafalco:  Grief and Renewal, was published by Chimbarazu Press, and Virgogray Press reissued her 2010 chapbook, I Am South, as a perfect-bound book.  NeoPoiesis Press will release a book of poems, Three Sides of the Same Moon, in 2015.  Snyder founded and continues to organize the Tumblewords Project, which has been presenting free, weekly, creative writing workshops since 1995.  She is a contributing editor to Return to Mago.  Her work appears frequently in Red Fez and VEXT Magazine.  She blogs at poetry from the frontera.

Side unseen by Donna J. Snyder

The back of the hand across the face. Left to right. Right to left. And encore. A nightmare night. A few fractured teeth. Bamboo backscratcher to the weeping eye. One ruptured vein. The shock of pain twirled and let open. A spirit once sweet now consumed by rage. Brain subsumed in biochemical wave. The leg behind the knee. Finger grip about the neck. The relentless fist of implacable stone. The screams and moans. The so alone. The futile attempt to resist. The futile attempt to retreat. The futile attempt to entreat. The power to reason lost. Domination necessary at any cost. Head beaten against the floor. The crawl for the door. The swollen mouth. The rasping breath. Blood red eye rimmed in plum. The aching throat ringed in scarlet bands. Lumps thick as the palm of a hand. The snarls subside and the damage seen. The monster slowly becomes a man. The trenches of war at home are fled. Into the yard. The car. The road. Gasps for air. Despairing sobs. Back to the trenches of day and job.

by Donna J. Snyder

Chimbarazu Press published Snyder’s poetry collection, Poemas ante el Catafalco:  Grief and Renewal and Virgogray Press reissued her 2010 chapbook, I Am South, in the fall of 2014.  NeoPoiesis Press will release a book of poems, Three Sides of the Same Moon, in 2015.  Her work appears frequently in Red Fez and VEXT Magazine.  She blogs at poetry from the frontera.