Higher Education – a poem by Cristina Dominguez

Class, today we will learn about legitimate jobs
that rob the lower masses from fruitful futures
and leave them haunted by a past, when unmasked
has the chills and sweats of oppression
in a land where healthcare means don’t get sick
unless you’re rich
and opportunity means
pull yourself up by the bootstraps on your bare-feet
and greet the pearly white gates of privilege

Class, I will also address the “other” and difference
but without thinking about the difference
it does but doesn’t make
pressed blue, lavender and pink collars
while we press our white columns together
shut them out
behind bars pushing drinks
behind bars in the clink
class c felons

Class, remember though, we live in the land of the free
Limitless choice and possibility
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of the almighty
dollar, dolor, puro amor
The sky is the limit
tray tables and seats in their
upright position
uptight position
like missionary
keep you safe from
restrained from
take off
and just before the curtains clothes
first class men remove their expensive coats
grab her ass and stare back
at the middle-middle class in coach
coached to look and long for the front as they step on the jet way
gangs of brown hands hold up
gangways walked by their ancestors put on vessels to this land of prosperity

Class, we won’t depart from lecture into discussion
we aren’t the Russians here
comments are for commies
I only want to hear
the answers in the back of the book I wrote, here
lets talk about arrivals, explorers
not conquistadors and slave trade ships
settlers who unsettled the original
aboriginal inhabitants
native tongues cut, sold, like cattle
only after we learned their trades
killed them with sickness and battles

Class, lets first take roll
“Here” she sat there
top of their class,
the Master’s mistress of facts
with her war-drobe lined up and locked up
behind a closet door
she knew the lay of the land and the law
Federal intern watching judges turn out sentences without thinking of the pretenses, tense in her seat in the court.
Plush curtains, waving flags, blunt oak masts and doors that shut out just enough light and life to keep it cold,
Colder than the plastic seats, rusty metal, smudged glass of the government homes of the lower class
her fear set free by their agency and her feminist thought

She sat in the offices defending her choices to guides: counselor professor
only from the outside can I get in
only from the outside can I get out

She found herself in a class teaching, on the beach teaching, in a bed teaching, and being taught about not reaching
Put her tongue to cunt to source, horse in her throat but wet mouthed, hungry, and wailing
Felt her nerves border on up surd and her anger rise like hurricane tides, the lies of west progressives red necked as the south where there at least their pistols gleam honestly ignorant.
Months ago, she laid in a bathtub too small to drown in, in bubbles, shambles and rubble but still threatening and trouble,
Now she jumps in between cracks, bulldozed laws, labels, categories,
Blood and gore and childhood stories devoured, sacrificing privilege and stealing power.
She drove, and drove, and drove mad, collected chaos and spread it on paper, in minds, hung on cactus and vine on the states dime

Class, today we will question everything
We will pull back the curtain
We will expose the Wizard
Stamp out the poppies with our bare feet, high off of illegitimate knowledge
Awaken and revive what is alive, we will expose lies
We will take out our books charred with dust, crusted with wine and blood
We will take off our clothes, close, naked, and writhing

Today we will FUCK
FUCK with the truth
until our laps are wet with ambiguity and fluidity

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