83. Gimcrack National Park

Author: Jordan Duffey, Senior

A lone fishermen spits,
(ripped jeans, bristled beard, 
worm-filled belly)
hocked loogie feeling
his birth marshes
taken from him under glittering stars.
Officials in crisp suits came,
Beach Boys vibrating the jeep
they chortled ‘Not your village anymore,’
bumped away,
old man’s chiseled age lines
ravines flowing with tears.  
Salt smell strong,
his pet flamingo once splashed here,
Baobab trees swaying in the breeze,
tourists with cameras on necks.
No catch no money,
so he hunts, splintery musket in hand,
on land he mustered up on. 
People named him Poacher, Bum,
Nomad, Native,
and Get-The-Fuck-Out
of their park
his home, wild
mammal sanctuary.    

I see his gunpowder, hard
sea of  grass whipping his back,
seeds on his pants, seeds in the air.
I see your giraffe purse with its spots,   
ode to the fisherman, ode to national parks.  

This poem is about the creation of national parks and protected areas in eastern Africa, and the forced relocations (and surrounding issues) that often occur as a result.

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