Um, this from the Migrant States, which, um, let me see the Migrants Reply
So in that sense, diplomacy and poetry have gone hand in hand for me
Okay. We’ve been running for so long. We are tired. We want to rest. We don’t want to wake up tomorrow and pack our bags. We’ve gone 10,000 miles. We have a cell phone and some bread. Arise, a dry, our breath needs washing. What next? You’re putting up a wall on your Southern flank. What an irony. The country that accepts refugees does not want us. We qualify. We have scars and our host governments hunted at least some of us; the rest fled in fear. Gangs do not spare even the children. White vans took away our uncles, our cousins. Do you think they’d been made into Ploughshares?
Aye what are you saying too easy, too easy to wear our hearts in these words, in slings, on our faces, furrowed perplexed, what happened to kindness to strangers? Why do we have to be herded like prisoners held in a holding camp? We are human beings and like you in safer countries, we have the same obligation to save ourselves and our children. Oh, the children look at them, give them food and school and a new set of clothes. Give them a chance, whether you are red or blue, the eye of the hurricane does not discriminate. We are your tumbling weeds, hurling cars, flooding banks, and we are diggers of the dykes. We can teach you so many languages and visions. You would learn so much. You would never ever say lock us up. The Migrants Reply.
I was going to say it comes from a book called The Migrant States and, and it’s a book really about America, but a very broader America than the United States, you know. Because when you think about the America[s] and I think about America, I think about, about Chile and about Canada. And I think about, um, Haiti, you know, I think about the continent and all of its peoples and cultures and languages. And, and so it’s a celebration of this America, uh, and it’s an America that I’ve learned about through diplomacy, you know, the, the chance to work and live in different parts of the continent and in, in Peru and in Argentina, in Mexico, in Haiti. And, uh, so it’s inevitably, I’ve learned a different, underst- have a new, developed, a new understanding of America through the, uh, through this experiences, these life and different cultures, American cultures, and work.
We have boarded a row boat, tug boat, bus, freight train
I was appointed in New York, uh, first and I was, uh, writing there and I was a journalist as well, writing to the small newspapers in, in Manhattan and writing theater reviews, writing, uh, columns, uh, cultural, um, culture
And so my life as a writer, as an artist in New York, you know, New York is a very friendly place if you, if you’re in the arts, you, you really do get a lot of community support from your fellow artists in your field and, and others. And, uh, so that was the life I was living in New York. And then I took the foreign service exam. Uh, my elder brother – also a diplomat – had, had encouraged me to do that, and I did. And I, the second time I, I got through the first time, but not the final stage. I, there was the in-basket test that, that stayed with me. I think my handwriting was to blame. And then I went to the second, I did it again. And then I got through the second time and the se- and then I had to say goodbye to New York. It was not easy – for about a whole year I was saying goodbye to every place I loved in that city, which I loved so much. Um, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and, and, and ta- taking leave. And then I went to Washington, um, to join the US Information Agency, which no longer exists, but at the time you could be a Foreign Service Officer for USIA or for the State Department.