Monday, February 10, 2014

Christmas in the Nude 

Two lines lined up on The Line
It's Christmas morning on the border.

Mira como idiotas en esas ropas! 
yells a black-haired woman from
the southern side of The Line. 
Yeah, you too! yells back a big belly 
armed and in uniform from the northern. 

Everyone on the northern side
laughs after that, 
but stays in line.
The big belly
says, softly, but they all hear him:
It's Christmas,
maybe we all look like idiotas.

Two lines lined up on The Line. 

A tiny dusty boy makes clouds running
along the southern side of it, stops,
his clouds take him over and pass by;
in the clear now, he yells:

Let's trade! I want to wear a uniform and
a badge and a gun! Let's trade, let's trade!

The northern side of The Line,
passing around Christmas morning
beers, cracks up in laughter and one
of them says: What the fuck? Yes,
it's Christmas, let's trade!

And they start taking off their uniforms
(dropping the guns on the ground behind them.)

The dusty boy throws his patched jeans
and Denver Broncos t-shirt across the line,
giggling in only his brown Fruit 
of the Looms. A border officer reaches
across the line and crowns the boy
with his cap, at an angle, putting up 
his hands crying: Don't shoot! 

The boy laughs and claps dusty clouds 
in the air. 

Along the line, getting undressed; 
women trade clothes with women, men with 
men, all the sizes are way wrong, which 
gets funnier and funnier until they are all traded off and dressed in each others clothes,
with them on the northern side of the line
trying to look as frightened as them 
on the southern are trying to look aggressive. 

Christmas morning, no snow, 
big blue sky expanding out forever over 
them in the dusty yellow silence below, with
just a little wind, no sleigh bells or carols.
All silence. And then …

The tiny dusty boy is on the ground laughing
kicking his legs in the air, his officer's cap
rolling down the line, and over it, gone.
A radio crackles and talks, a used-to-be border officer turns it off, drops it 
in the gun pile. 

Now we all look ridiculoso!  says the belly
from the north, now in a Denver Broncos
t-shirt that can't quite cover it. 

Everyone laughs, and the officer slowly 
peels off the shirt, drops it in the gun pile.
The black-haired woman smiles and walks
to his side, takes off her shirt with a name
tag (Ray)on it, drops it in the gun pile. 

Then she kicks off her polished unlaced 
black boots, kicks them into the gun pile.

And the pile grows as clothes come off, 
the guns disappearing underneath.
Cell phones get tossed in; badges, maps, 
papers, a photo of the president,
smartphones and iPads containing 
the latest details of immigration policy,
all tossed in. 

An ex-officer, now down to only 
his green shirt, now throwing it in the pile,
looks around and asks:
Tienes hambre? 

I'll say!

… go the various reactions across the line.  
Someone sets fire to the pile, beers come out
in the open and keep coming! around 
in a circle, packages of hot dogs and pots 
and pans and frijoles and tacos and hamburgers
and Coca Cola and, of course, someone - 
a traditionalist - comes on with chestnuts! 
Everyone stops and looks down his bag of nuts,
then at him. 

What? It's an open fire, ain't it?

There's big laughter at this, and after
some translation,
more laughter.

{ A slightly worried conversation on the side, though, between a border patroller and an immigrant, or two immigrants, or two patrollers, hard to tell now:
Hey, what about those goddam guns? Aren't they gonna go off?
Well, we need fireworks to celebrate, don't we? }

They all stand around the fire long into 
late afternoon, into nearly evening, the sun
small and red like Rudolph's nose 
on the horizon, all them cooking and eating 
and laughing, eventually

There were no papers needed
for naked. 

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