Issue 1 Poetry

Red, White, and Blue

by Amanda Bustos

Please take a stand for your red, white, and blue. Take a stand for the land of the
greatest, land of the honest, land of the cherished liberty. Freedom for all and above all.
Freedom for my sisters and brothers. Freedom to write on this paper and freedom to stand
outside the beloved White House, chanting with signs in my hand for the rights I still lack. Take
a stand for your right to vote, and your unalienable right to carry your forty-five to your local
supermarket. Take a stand for the flag or you will meet the red, white, and blue. The pavements
will be red and your bruises will be blue if your skin is not white and your eyes are not blue.
Take a stand for the land of the greatest. Land of the free, unless you are any shade of
brown, gay, or poor. Ignore that your ancestors are Irish or English and your great-grandfather
himself shed the blood of Native Americans from sea to shining sea. Protect the land of
equality. If anyone’s shade is not what yours is, chain their hands. If you cannot make them
work your plantation, throw them in jail for half a gram of crack. No one will see the bag of
cocaine in your pocket. I will not say your name, for your name resonates in the mind of many
cops throughout our nation. Your name poisons the air as the guy in the “Make America Great
Again” hat stares at a girl in a hijab with hatred. Or perhaps, today it is the girl who translates
your insults to her mother. “But my back is dry,” answers the mother.
Build all the walls around dear corrupt Mexico, lie to the masses, but you cannot fool a
heart that stands with the red, white, and blue, not your hatred masked under the colors and
disagreements of this nation. You can take a mother back to her penniless, cartel-filled land,
but you cannot steal the hope that pounds with her heartbeat. Take a stand for fellow
immigrants, sweat for the American Dream in the fields, in construction, or cleaning houses,
and are met by old flags most of them cannot even recognize. Who is Robert E. Lee? Who is
oppressing you, white man? What do you stand for with a torch in your hand? What do you
strive for when you hit that black man? White man, you do not need to test it, the gore in
history textbooks can guarantee: Punch the black man and his skin bruises blue too. Even
though his eyes are not blue, stab the brown of his skin, cut the tissue, reach his veins, and his
blood is red too.

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