Union Songs

Magic Realism

A poem by Maggie Jaffe ©2001 Maggie Jaffe

She's a minor union functionary.
For weeks she and her co-unionists
have negotiated with the government
to set a minimum working wage for children.
Her file is directed to appropriate channels.
The White Hand (Las Manos Blancas),
funded by the government,
break into her house, decapitate
her five children, seat
them around the kitchen table.
One soldier drives a nail through
the youngest child's head
to keep it from slipping.
In the barracks that night
soldiers watch their favorite TV programs:
The Adventures of Bat Man and Robin,
followed by a local Televangelist,
trained in the USA,
who confirms what everyone knows:
there are murderous
Communistas everywhere.
In El Salvador
dollars magically
make things happen.
Shit happens.


Many thanks to Maggie Jaffe for permission to include her poem in the Union Songs collection.

Maggie Jaffe's publications include How The West Was One, Continuous Performance, 7th Circle and 1492: What Is It Like To Be Discovered, a collaboration with artist Deborah Small.

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