By The Time I Get To Arizona . . .

...I'll be wicked tan. Empty wallets don't provide gas money, much less the luxurious air travel option, so I'll be hoofin' it across the Gulf Coast towards the Southwest and it's gonna be a long haul, commencing end of cruel April, May west, westward, wayward, May-ward into June cleaver? June's a warm, white beaver so no need to worry for Ward or cleaver; they filter through our screens black and white but white knows white from white even when immigrated grey via Telemundo satellite. Leave it to those cleavers but how long will The Cleavers - how long will that circling Phoenix leave her amidst this stale white-bread fever? Who knows how long if my feets don't fail if my skin stays pale under a brutal all-day waxing into late-evening sun. Maybe I'll thumb a ride here and there but once I near the AZ, I'll pocket the thumb because in the crazy AZ the thumb is a sucker - an invitation for a sucker-punch for those of us who tan wicked under summer-sun - we who've been asked over and again, "Are you Mexican...or just really, really tan?"

By Truth or Consequences I'm wicked: dark, deep-olive shiny with Texas oil - I'm Grandpa, who could pass for black so pass truth, consequences - I'm Anita who can glass the crack the white lines state lines dividing - I'm the glassy eye glassing, eyeing this Grand Canyon of white dividing, cracked wide open, grand, a Grand State of thinking and as I'm passing and eyeing I'm thinking of The Misfit: a good man's so hard to find but he knew, if they wanted, any one could find another - woman, man, good, tan - 'cause all you need are the papers: nome, they don't put you in by mistake, not when they got the papers on you. But we're not driving through Georgia, ma'am, we're high-flyin' Phoenix and these papers shown everything off balance: the proper papers prove you've committed a crime because they have the papers on you!

Because there was a "need" to call for these exculpatory papers in the first place - and there was a "need" for you to carry them.

Because you "need" to show the papers, you're a criminal - wicked tan: wicked woman, wicked man.

Because you "need" to show the papers, a wicked crime has been committed against you.

“That's why I sign myself now. I said long ago, you get you a signature and sign everything you do and keep a copy of it. Then you'll know what you done and you can hold up the crime to the punishment and see do they match and in the end you'll have something to prove you ain't been treated right. I call myself The Misfit,” he said, “because I can't make what all I done wrong fit what all I gone through in punishment.”

By the time I get to Arizona, my hair will dreadlock: dark, heavy follicles dirty faster, curls swirl uncombed when unwashed like I've let it go in the past and if it's left to grow past my shoulders in thick brown-black collections of wind and dust my greasy hair will lock in dread.

By the time I get to Arizona, I'll be dark, dusty, broke, dreadlocked, broken, dreaded, mocked, profiled by Cherokee cheekbones, a Native American nose, brown, almond-shaped eyes and wicked tanned skin: oily thick leather that rises in ugly, red coiled snakes who spit putrid venom to the touch, burning pock-marks, hyperpigmentation, tell-tale signs of too much melanin but the true state of this nation is by the time I get to Arizona . . . I'll still be a white woman with an Irish name.

By the time I passed in Phoenix, they'd ask me for my papers and I'd show them my Irish: a shaking fistful of pale plastic identity belying my current color, misfit marker, wicked tan.

By the time I get to Arizona, that Phoenix will die - for it doesn't, freedom will.

And dust to dust if Arizona wants it such because if Phoenix sees the light and ever again tries to take flight, by that time, I'll have turned my back on Arizona.

I'm well content to stay home to suntan with the bigots in Florida - 'cause "Jesus, Jesus!" - I'd rather burn in Hell than with you racist assholes in Arizona!


“Turn to the right, it was a wall,” The Misfit said, looking up again at the cloudless sky. “Turn to the left, it was a wall. Look up it was a ceiling, look down it was a floor. I forget what I done, lady. I set there and set there, trying to remember what it was I done and I ain't recalled it to this day. Oncet in a while, I would think it was coming to me, but it never come.”
Flannery O'Connor, “A Good Man is Hard to Find.”

“Go fuck yourself, Arizona.”
Ron Burgundy, Anchorman

(Quote may be somewhat altered for context, and excludes Arizonians against SB1070.)

Stand by SB1070 and you stand by racial profiling; you spit on the Constitution. And if you think you're "immune" because you were born in the United States or because your skin is "white" or you don't "look ethnic"... Let me recommend you reread your history books; the scope and definition of "white" or "ethnic" in these (for lack of a better word) situations never stays the same. However, if you wish to keep with your line of thinking... May I suggest a plastic surgeon?

And a bottle of sunblock - perhaps SPF 1070?

1 comment:

  1. with how liberal the gun laws are in Az. I an surprised that their government would want to put any officer in that much danger. The law will not stand scrutiny nor constitutional muster but the fact that this asshole thought it was a good idea and the legislative body there also thought it was a good idea is beyond my ability to believe.