The Expat Blues

Your mouth is always open

The world is spinning

So many barriers to your happiness

Such frustrations in your work

So endless the delays of your bank

In sending all your thousands of dollars home

Delays as endless as your indignation

At the whirling kaleidoscopic chaos

Of this land so new to you

Whose newness is its crime

And whose traditions equally criminal

While all about you mill

Dark people

With features askew

And frightening scars

In ill-fitting clothes

Who hail from unimaginable places

That you’ve never heard of

Or maybe heard of but never seen

Or maybe seen but never experienced

For if you had experience

Your mouth would be closed

And your world would stop spinning

And your eyes would glisten

Like the eyes of the diseased

Emaciated people whose children they are

People who are waiting for them

In less privileged folds of the map

Where frustration is real

And frustration means death

Death by starvation

Death by boot heel

Death by nonexistence

Who know horror

As a daily dinner guest

That strokes the heads of their children

And owns all the windows they are permitted to look through

People who live in places where the only thing you own is your hunger and your fear

People who pray for fifty dollars a month

So they can survive

Without selling their daughters

Or mutilating their children

To earn money with their hands out

From people like you

Who pay fifty dollars for a meal at a restaurant

With more waiters than customers

And utter every syllable in dismay

At your lot in life