“Let Them Eat Cake”
POETRY FORMAT, 4 Feb 2019
When informed that her subjects–“the people”–were starving, that they had “no bread,” Queen Marie Antoinette is reputed to have answered blithely, “Let them eat cake!” [“Qu’ils mangent de la brioche!”]
The people of Somalia are not like us.
Their skin is black and gray and parched by sun.
They carry their babies on bony hips,
Walking for miles for a little water.
Even their babies are resigned to death,
Hollow-eyed, fly-covered, without the strength
To cry, without the will to endure.
We, on the other hand, are full of “life!”
We eat pizza and watch television.
Water magically appears at our fingers.
Our skin is bathed in emollients.
Our babies are full-throated and fat.
Our bodies are soft, and shaped like gourds.
We drive everywhere in S.U.V.’s.
We vote for politicians who despise us.
We are proud of our “democracy.”
The people of Somalia vote with their feet.
They trudge the hot sands, looking for water.
The soles of their feet are hard as tires.
They know nothing of Global Warming,
Population over-shoot, Earth’s carrying capacity.
Their carrying capacity
Is a baby on each raw hip.
The poor among us are deliberately poor!
Anyone with gumption can make a million!
Our hard times will pass and we’ll get back to normal:
Proms and Christmases, first kisses,
“Change” we can believe in, reality TV.
We die and we kill for “inalienable” rights:
Happy Meals, water at our fingers;
Our right to be oblivious; our right to
Life, liberty and a perennial mirage.
Dr. Gary Corseri is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. He has published/posted poems, articles, fiction and dramas at Transcend Media Service and hundreds of publications and websites worldwide. He has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library and his dramas have been produced on PBS-Atlanta. He edited the “Manifestations” literary anthology. He has published 2 novels and 2 poetry collections, has taught in US public schools and prisons and in US and Japanese universities. Contact: Gary_Corseri@comcast.net.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 4 Feb 2019.
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