Arizona 2017 was actually written in 2010, and was intended to be a futuristic look at what our Southwestern border would be like in several years. Looking back on it now, I think the problems with our Southwestern border have gotten worse, not better.
This poem rhymes; most of my poetry does not. You might wonder why I would take such an unsophisticated approach with such a complicated topic. It just came out that way, stubbornly rhyming no matter how I tried to revise it, so there you have it.
Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the poem.
In southwest Arizona, in the middle of the night,
The border town lies sleeping, there’s not a soul in sight.
Juan Carlos and his family live above the hardware store,
Asleep in their apartment, when a knock comes on the door.
Open up, the sheriff cries, you’d better not delay,
Open up and let me in or there’ll be hell to pay.
I don’t like the way you talk, I think your skin’s too brown.
Show me you were born here, or I’ll run you out of town.
Let me see your papers, boy, don’t give me any lip.
These handcuffs have your name on them, my gun is on my hip.
My wife works in your factory, from seven until six.
I cut your grass and clean your trash, my cousins lay your bricks.
I go to church on Sunday, show up for work on time,
I swear to you, Senor, I’ve not committed any crime.
My youngest son was born here, he studies hard all day,
One day he’ll be a doctor, if you’ll just walk away.
The sheriff and Juan Carlos look into each other’s eyes.
The deputies wait silently, patrol car standing by.
Handcuffs tight behind his back, they’re taking him away,
You come with us, the sheriff says, your boy will have to stay.
Never mind he has no shoes, just put him in the car.
Watch his head, the sheriff laughed, and lit up a cigar.
The night stretched on forever, starlit sky on moonlit trail,
As Sheriff Joe Rodriguez drove Juan Carlos off to jail.
They come across the border like the stars up in the sky,
Willing to risk everything to make it here alive.
Through the quiet darkness or the burning heat of day,
I tell you, Arizona, there must be a better way.
Our soldiers die for freedom, yet this tramples on their graves.
America is watching while we throw these lives away.
Take a look around you, they’re the same as you and me.
Freedom isn’t real until the least of us is free.