IF YOU WANT TO PURIFY AMERICA'S TEXTBOOKS
OF ETHNIC STUDIES
We'll start with the gold of Havana's women,
who hearing you needed money for your revolutionary war
offered their wedding rings and necklaces,
to be melted,
to finance your white-wigged revolution
that was so very bold
but so very poor.
The skeleton of José Moñino y Redondo
has come to take it all back.
No muskets for you.
No cannons, no cannon balls,
no gunpowder, no bombs or mortars,
no clothes for your freezing soldier sons.
I’m afraid that bitter winter in Valley Forge will end quite differently
While we're at it, we take back the help of our ancestors,
Bernardo de Galvez, Fernando de Leyba, and the thousands
of men with surnames that so displease you now,
who repelled the British in Florida and Louisiana,
who secured your flimsy Western borders
and marched to win your battles for you
in Indiana and Michigan and Missouri
before there was an Indiana or a Michigan, or a Missouri.
Hearing the commotion
Francisco Saavédra de Sangronis has stirred in his Andalusian
demanding that while you're purifying the record
you return the half a million dollars in silver
that he collected in 24 hours
to fund your great final victory in Yorktown.
We will help you purify the record
but our ancestors insist in retroactively removing themselves from your
And being a bit weak on your own history as you are
you may find the parting very hard to take.
Dan Vera is the author
of The Space Between Our Danger and Delight (Beothuk
Books, 2008). His poems have appeared in Cutthroat, Delaware
Poetry Review, Gargoyle, Ishmael Reed's Konch,
and Undefined, and the anthologies Divining Divas:
Gay Poets on Their Divas, Full Moon On K Street: Poems About
Washington, DC, Dog Blessings, and DC Poets Against
the War. He is co-founder of Vrzhu Press, publisher of Souvenir
Spoon Books, edited the Gay culture journal White Crane, co-hosts
the Capitol Hill reading series, and helped create the new poetry incubator
Poetry Mutual of America.
in Volume 13, Number 1, Winter 2012.
read more by this author:
Evolving City Issue
Split This Rock Issue
Kim Roberts and Vera on DC
Author's Houses: Forebears Issue
Intro to the US Poets Laureate Issue (Fall 2009)
Dan Vera on Four
Laureates: US Poets Laureate Issue
Tenth Anniversary Issue
Dan Vera: Langston Hughes Tribute Issue
Dan Vera on Sterling A. Brown: Poetic Ancestors Issue