You call them rapists, murderers, criminals, mock
The silence of a grieving mother, yet
The people in the room break into a riot of applause;
Many more, behind the protection of a television screen
Do the same –bow their heads in silent nods, in case
Motion spills into the roving eyes of ideological avenge.
It makes me cringe, makes me afraid, feel
Oddly defeated – at this vicious name-calling
Of the ‘un-Americans’; toxic, this culture of exclusion.
I am an immigrant of color, and gay,
Who came to this hip of land for a better life, to pursue
A world of dreams; ousted by the jurisdiction
Of divisive laws upheld by my home country –reinstated
To chain same-sex lovers, like myself. It is this narrative
Of dislocation that is my common history with your forefathers,
Who did the same, who wobbled
On the nape of cultural dichotomies, to build for you
A better life. Our uprooting, the confusion of fleet,
Reconstructions of life’s jagged shards, is not
Your lived experience – and I would never wish it upon you,
Having known the shame behind the name-calling,
Feeling, often, like an engorged specimen under a microscope.
Your pathological view of the illegals, the aliens, I have come to realize,
Is only a small twig of a much bigger tree,
Rooted deeply in your heart, this phobia of the other; this issue
Of legality, a timid straw behind your slanted vision
Of a White America.
Do you forget, Red Man, how many fingers of aliens
Have built the legs of your empire?
Do you realize, Red Man, that law is expensive and
Entire villages of fugitives would’ve bled
Under the hack of death, had they not made the breathless escape
To the hopeful shores of this country?
Look beyond this universe of fear you have constructed,
And notice –that many of us are here to help, to settle
In peace, and love the pillars of a fresh vista of freedom.
Many of us would fight and fight and fight
For a Nation that isn’t ours, because this Nation gives us hope,
Much more than our own. If you lift the veil
Of constant suspicion, undo the latches barring our dreams, remove
The talons biting into our collective strength, you will
See, a majority of us, united before the same flag,
Committed to the cause, not different from yours,
Of together, building an even greater Nation. I wish you would see,
For once, this alternate reality, beyond
The hollow of your eyes, shuttered so closely tight –
That anything in the living darkness, to you,
Is an all-consuming threat, a wrench, a narrative of greed.
Tanmoy Das Lala lives in New York City, and writes poetry whenever time permits. His works have appeared in Thought Catalog and Chelsea Station Magazine.