The Birth of a New Nation

today, in a free clinic
near the mean streets
in the city of angels
6000 hardscrabble members of Marx’s
always unpopular
reserve army of unemployed,
and their blank-faced children
lined up uncomfortably
outside of the Los Angeles Sports Arena
to get their yellow wristbands
their once-in-a-million ticket
to see in the flesh
a dentist, a doctor, a healthcare volunteer

when thousands line up all night
in the desert climate chill
to see a dentist
what does that say for the days ahead
aching molars aside

even the health care aides of the sick
waited patiently
beside their own brittle-boned patients,
who waited beside character actors,
who waited beside undocumented day laborers
who waited beside Orange County housewives abandoned by
their gambling husbands
who waited beside teachers
seeking mammograms and treatment
for their diabetes

the Los Angeles Times covered the story
no doubt to the outrage of the teabaggers
whose ire was stoked by free clinics for freeloaders
and especially the scraggly
immigrants from the south

while those responsible for the overexploitation of
las Americas
sit in their mahogany offices
wet their kerosene lips
on shipwrecked 1907 Heidsieck champagne
at 275 thousand a bottle
could subsidize all those diagnosed for root canals
and then some)
and watch the fascism of the nation unfold,
as Hannity, and Beck, and O’Reilly call for heads to roll

Francisco Franco, beloved fascist dictator of Spain
slept beside the incorruptible arm of Saint Teresa de Avila
can’t you see him using it to scratch the hairs on his back?
holding it like a crucifix to fend off the dark prince
who (we sincerely hope) came to claim his soul
can’t you see George Bush with some relic under his bed
perhaps the skull of Geronimo
while Barak Obama, needing no protective relic
sleeps soundly
unperturbed by terrorists
or Marx’s reserve army
snaking around the block in the city of angels
as his angels of steel
hover overhead
their tactical control systems humming
Yankee Doodle Dandy
Instead of Michael, Gabriel, Uriel and Raphael
our beloved leader has invoked the protection
of Predator, Global Hawk, Fire Scout and Hunter
and called for the birth of a new nation
under god.

may god bless America
and only

Peter McLaren is Professor, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University  of California, Los Angeles.

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