“Shithole Song #1106”

Daniel Borzutzky, from The BreakBeat Poets, Vol. 4: LatiNEXT

June 16, 2020  By Daniel Borzutzky

we sing it in the blood flowers and we sing it while they bury our sisters we sing it to the hungry rodents they cage us with

we sing and we sing and there are cannibalized families in the shithole

and the authoritative bodies dig and they say thank the lord we do not live in this shithole where the babies cry for their cages    where the mothers have numerical codes stitched into their skin    where the hole is overwhelmed by the shit and the shit is overwhelmed by the hole    where the hired help helps the hiring hands to rehumanize the exiled bodies whom they shovel into the shittiest shit of the shithole

we are the moses and the aaron of the shithole and we sing this song of hope

we are the mannequins and the glass dolls of the shithole and we sing this song of hope

we are diseased bits of shithole earth on lizard corpses and when our children cry they tell us dig that shithole deeper

they say sing this song of hope and dig that shithole deeper we sing it to the dead who drink our dirty shithole water we sing it to the dead who sleep with the ghosts

in our hepatitis hole

in our meningitis hole

in the hole where they hide us like a debt that will never be paid

in the hole where they draw an intractable border through our broken shithole bodies


Excerpted from The BreakBeat Poets, Vol. 4: Latinext, a poetry anthology by Haymarket Books. 

Daniel Borzutzky
Daniel Borzutzky
Daniel Borzutzky is the author of Lake Michigan, finalist for the 2019 Griffin International Poetry Prize; The Performance of Becoming Human, which received the 2016 National Book Award. His other books include In the Murmurs of the Rotten Carcass Economy (2015); Memories of my Overdevelopment (2015); and The Book of Interfering Bodies (2011). His translation of Galo Ghigliotto’s Valdivia received the 2017 ALTA National Translation Award. He has translated Raul Zurita’s The Country of Planks and Song for his Disappeared Love; and Jaime Luis Huenún’s Port Trakl. He teaches in the English and Latin American and Latino Studies Departments at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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