POEM: “we have the permission of the hunger of the people”

“we have the permission of the hunger of the people”

we began to prepare food in this neglected building
the work of our hands in service of the people we love

the wind had left us little, carried away so much
its violence only the latest example of the lash on our backs

we don’t believe in waiting for The Great White Father to come
we are not subjects or vassals or servants or serfs; we are el pueblo

soon after we started, the police came to visit our kitchen
they told us we had no right to ease the pain of the community

we said: “we have the permission of the hunger of the people”
nobody is coming to save us but ourselves

a little while later the air-conditioned woman arrived with her charm
she negotiated as if we were two equal parties

but we are not two equal parties; one of us is everyone, the other is a fiction
an idea propped up by the belief of those who’ve yet to break their chains

the hot food leaves the stoves, the ovens, and travels to the hearts of our people
we bend with the wind, then rise up again

/ / /

Jason Crane
1 February 2018
State College PA

This poem was inspired by an interview on The Final Straw Radio with organizers from the Centro de Apoyo Mutuo (Mutual Aid Center) in Caguas, Puerto Rico.

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