there is nothing more american than superman.
i know this, not born but raised in kansas.
at the movies, when the man of steel tells
the government agent that “ma’am he’s from kansas,”
the entire theatre starts applauding.
he is the only illegal alien people from kansas will ever clap for.
when i was little, my father used to tried convince me
that he was alien, just not an illegal one,
because, well, it was technically true.
he’s just like superman, really, a boy living in a world
that’s not quite his that he loves anyways.
white kids in my classes never laugh at that story
but i still think it’s pretty funny. white kids in my classes never
like a lot of things i keep talking about, writing about.
because they’re always talkin’ about bootstraps
like everyone is born with the same pair of shoes
and i can never stand that.
because america is not a dream, it’s a meritocracy.
i mean, superman, that’s why we love you, right?
you’re the best and we only like things that are different
when they are cutting edge, bodies sharp
but not knife blades, nothing too lethal.
the reason we should allow immigrants in the country is
because of how they stimulate the economy,
the reason we should fund public education
is to keep kids “off the streets,”
the reason we should stop burning our planet alive
is because we have nowhere else to go,
the reason we should care about another person is always
bound to how they affect us. and i’m tired of penning arguments,
aiming to teach people how grow empathy a few years too late.
stop talking about my people like they’re dollar signs,
like we’re only worth our output. you like us when we’re superman,
sob stories to success stories, model minorities.
but you hate us when we take up too much space.
you hate us when we’re too angry or too loud or too comfortable.
you like us grateful, don’t want us to ever ask for more.
can all our american dreams live at the same time?
or are they pack of cannibals, eating each other out of existence?
does a dead boy in kansas mean the same to you
as a dead boy in syria? do you cry for him in the same way,
is his body just as heavy in his mother’s arms?
riddle me this, if a body falls hard against the concrete
and his murderers walk around as if they are not murderers
then does it make a sound?
how much is it worth?
how much is it worth?