I’m past that post-election fog but still submerged in the flooding swamp stinking our shoes wet. Mom jokes about leaving our country. Dad doesn’t want my ass disappeared whenever I flare on Facebook. For the record, I protested against the man—handmade signs, a friend in an ape suit, a golden toilet. I treated it like an anecdote, rallied for Bernie, then HRC, assuming a new history that hopes harder than hailstones breaking glass. Instead, we wake to a house of horrors where a celebrity tweets hatred, dons a limp red tie, scrawls executive hypocrisies, and calls it politics.
I’m still learning what to do in the post-truth America. I’m still scanning a watch list for professors, their liberal agendas for teaching against racism, bigotry, and misogyny, a website hiding behind “patriotism” and “alt-right.”
I’m thinking back to everything I told my students in November. Did I lean too far to one side of the classroom? When I said: be informed, speak up, vote goddamnit, did they see America? My politics are a fractured puzzle. I’m trying to solve the field and sky with all the missing pieces. Stubborn, I’ll keep talking about the watch lists, the protests, the work to do against injustice, knowing if I’m found worthy of label, my lessons and words won’t change.
Juan Morales was born in the U.S. to an Ecuadorian mother and a Puerto Rican father. He is the author of the poetry collections The Siren World, Friday and the Year That Followed, and the forthcoming collection The Handyman’s Guide to End Times. He is a CantoMundo Fellow, the Editor of Pilgrimage Magazine, and an Associate Professor of English at Colorado State University-Pueblo, where he directs the Creative Writing Program and curates the SoCo Reading Series. His poems are forthcoming or have recently appeared in Pank, Post Road, The Malpais Review, Green Mountains Review, and others.
Header original photo of U.S. flag by Mrs_Shaffer1, courtesy Pixabay. Photo of Juan Morales by Sherwin Bitsui.