Friday, August 8, 2014

P.W. Covington - Three Poems

Family Housing

I was born near the end of the runways
On a Cold War, California
Desert Air Force Base
Phantom jets and F-105's
Thundered overhead, and I slept as a baby
Secure in my bed

Clean, small, communities with familiar paces
Retreat played every afternoon
We stood up for our flag
We'd ride our BX bikes anywhere,
Pretending they were sleek, fighter planes
In family housing

New schools, every two or three years
That clean, small town was movable,
“Brat” was an endearing term
We wore it with pride, like uniforms, like decoration

Still, today, sometimes
Life seems to make more sense
The other side of the “100% ID check,
Deadly Force Authorized” signs

Where we all drive slow, in four door cars,
And pickup trucks
Family housing

Where everything still stops
For those bugles at the end of the duty day

Where jet noise or turbo prop drone
Does not scream “War” to me,

But whispers of home.

Water, Blood The border is not chain link and wire
Not concrete, steel, or guns
It is the water that flows from snow melt
And that nurtures sandia vines in the fields
It is blood of the Earth
Sangre de gente
Spilled blood, life blood,
Family and Faith

The border is not history
It is hope
It is not yesterday
It is today

Never Work with Food
(Field Workers in California)

It is still about field workers in California
But, it's also about fast food employees in Texas
And packing plant laborers in Kansas

Dogs, treated with more dignity
Than those that manufacture
Supermarket brand pet foods

It isn't always about food
Not always

But, food is a damned good place to start
Thinking about the 21st century
Wage Slave

How many families did you keep in poverty
Shopping at the grocery store today?
How many shitty jobs did you take away
In tiny, speed-trap towns
With your sheltered insistence on
Gluten Free
Non Hormone
This or Gentrified That
From a clean, well lighted, place?

The Red in Red State Union busting
Is the blood leaking onto our dinner platter
The Fire sauce at Taco Bell,
It polishes the floors at
The Whole Foods corporate office in Texas

In dirty slaughter house jeans or
Pressed Wall-Mart Street suits,
The stench is the same

It is still about field workers in California
Suffering and inequality are the diet of this nation

Hate and fear, served for 99 cents in a paper wrapper
White, male, privilege on the table every Sunday
After church

Where, we are taught to be prosperous;
That, to be successful means
To never work with food.

PW Covington has been a fixture in the Texas Spoken word and Indie Lit scene for almost 20 years. His work has appeared in regional, national, and international journals, and he has published two collections of poetry. Covington recently released his first novel, titled "Dear Elsa,." PW lives in rural Lavaca County with his bulldog and tends family ranch land outside Cuero, Texas.

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