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Wednesday, September 03, 2008


by Robert Anbian

When you enter a maquiladora
at Otay Mesa, the first thing you notice
is women, lots of them. Most of us
come from the south, where there are no jobs.
There aren’t even men, except old ones!
The others went north, looking for work
and finding mostly grief and temptation.
If ever I see my husband again,
I will slap him, then kiss him.
Then slap him again.
We women were alone!
We knew nothing about what awaited us!
We brought nothing but children and naïve hopes!
The lords of the maquiladoras welcomed us,
we had small, agile hands, and would be cheap and docile.
They even denied us bathroom breaks, we would suffer in silence.
Or so they thought! But it wasn’t long before we women,
young, uneducated, abandoned by everyone,
began to speak up for our rights. We began
making a little trouble. Above all,
we found we had each other – they couldn’t deny us that!
But a factory woman’s life is a cheap thing in this world,
just like the cell phones we assembled and the pantyhose we packaged,
useful today, thrown away tomorrow.
And this isn’t a David-and-Goliath story, like in church,
or a Hollywood movie with a dream ending.
There is no ending.
The factories are moving to Indonesia,
leaving big, brown stains on the countryside,
and towns full of bitter women and wild teenagers.

Samples from Robert Anbian's new spoken word CD, I NOT I, can be heard on MySpace and is available from Edgetone Records as well as major download services. This is Anbian's fourth appearance on New Verse News.