Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016

A city skyline is bathed in an orange sunset.

Orange

in Politics by

I once loved orange, the color
       of my mother’s mohair sweater
              and my father’s flannel shirt.
       Snuggled between them, scent
              of wool and autumn leaves,
              we wandered Berkshire days.

I once loved the fiery orange sun that sunk
       on a pink feather bed over Long Island Sound,
              seagulls gliding above.

I once loved sweet chinas, juice dripping orange
       down my wrists as I peeled their thick skin
              in the back seat of a rickety Jeep, engine straining
       as we climbed Puerto Rico’s cordillera into the clouds
              fertile orange earth
                     peeking between green.

Orange was once sacred–
       like the robes of Buddhist monks,
       like a pinch of saffron in Persian stews,
       like achiote, coloring a caldero of arroz
              steaming on the stove
              while Danny Rivera croons
                     on the radio.

You have taken orange and turned it into an atrocity.
Your version of orange is
       a flashing neon sign in Vegas
              where you gambled
              with our lives
       sporting an overdone tan
              of the idle rich.

I’ve long been wary of ruddy faced men,
imagined the red of their cheeks not fine arteries
       beneath pale skin, but a mirror
              reflecting blood
              shed by their hands
       or by their ancestors
              who hand down their loot.

You moved Monopoly pieces on a tilted board,
              amassed hotels
       while swelling numbers of people sleep
              in the street
       and others break their backs and their children’s
              piggy banks
       to pay Bank of America.

You damaged decency,
poured gasoline on simmering bigotry
              and lit it
       with an orange match.

Keep your damn orange –
       the orange stink of a polluted pond,
              eco-friendly laws tossed
                     in your dumpster,
       the orange air when the sun couldn’t shine
              through fire ash,
       the orange rust that accumulates on a heart
              whose owner has forgotten
                     how to use it.

I take back my orange –
       apricot and peach
              hanging heavy on leafy limbs,
       the cantaloupe walls
              of my kitchen,
       the soft orange glow of dawn.

 

________

Susana Praver-Pérez is a Pushcart-nominated poet living in Oakland, California. By day she works as a Physician Assistant at La Clínica de la Raza. By night she reads at poetry events from San Francisco to San Juan. By nature, she’s a storyteller. Susana’s first full-length book of poetry, Hurricanes, Love Affairs and Other Disasters, will be released by Nomadic Press in 2021.

Photo by Josh Rose.

________

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