A Vulgar Marxist Beat

Belizaro’s old Ford pickup

Strained to cross the deep ruts

It has gauged into me,

Grinding its wheels

Across my soft black earth.

The truck coughed an echo

Against my silent countryside,

Carrying in it

An empty-hearted American boy

Who had come to see

My fields of working men.

Wheezing to a halt,

Its echo was replaced

By the steady:

Swish-swish, swish-swish

Of swinging machetes

That remained submerged

In the tall stalked grass

That grows between the mango trees

And Belizaro’s sugar cane.

Not until the white boy had labored

Across the rows of cane

with a bucket tied to his waist–

And felt the white grains

Of toxic fertilizer

Melt down the palms of his hands,

Did he catch a glimpse

Of the raisin-textured bodies

That move with the swish-swish steel

Of first world production

In its new home.

Resting, gringo boy

Sampled Belizaro’s cane

That must have tasted like

The red,white and blue, bomb pops

He had eaten in the snack bars

Of swimming clubs

While the steady swish-swish


In silence

The white boy swung a machete

and uncovered my black earth,

Removing stalk by stalk

The tall grass that covers

TWenty-five square meters

Of a man’s labor

Worth three American dollars.

With mounting fervor

The boy swung the machete

Sweating, straining,

Until I could hear his heart beat:

Swish-ugh, swish-ugh;


To the hundreds of square meters

That feed on my earth.

My workers and I

Filled the boy with a vulgar beat

Which continued

As Belizaro’s old Ford

Drove away,

Across my rutted earth.

Each day vulgar hearts

Beat out of sync

Tracking my black mud

Across the wall-to-wall carpets

That keep their distance

From my beating echo:

Swish-swish, swish-swish, swish-swish.

Each day I am engulfed–

I am engulfed to the core.