No Queens in the Kingdom

Suppose

Just suppose

That all the rappers

All the rappers who ever used the words “bitch” or “ho” in a song

Controlled the United States government

 

Suppose

That this rapper government sent out police

Special units dressed in sweats and backwards baseball caps

Sent them into every neighborhood

To arrest any woman who wasn’t acting “properly”

 

Suppose

That this government of all the rappers who ever used the words “bitch” or “ho” in a song

Refused to allow women to vote

Or to drive

Or to go to school

Or to get a divorce

Or to ever leave the house

 

This is just a fantasy, right?

The over-heated product of my fevered imagination

You wish

 

Take out the hip-hop part

And hop on over to Saudi Arabia

And you’ll find that this sick fantasy is alive and well

For Saudi women

All 14 million of them

 

They aren’t allowed to vote

Or to drive

Or to go to school

Or to get a divorce

Or to ever leave the house

 

This is terrible but it doesn’t affect you, does it?

Hey, Saudi Arabia is 8,300 miles away

What goes on there doesn’t affect you, does it?

You wish

 

Our government

The real one of corporations, not rappers

Our government

Has given over three hundred billion dollars to the Saudi royal family

To preserve the status quo there

That’s your money

When you get paid

Under deductions

It should say

“Saudi Royal Family”: $42 a week

 

Every time you see a library close in America

Or a school go without books

Or a hospital downsize

Think of how your taxes are spent

Saudi Arabia may be 8,300 miles away

But it’s also smack dab in the middle of your neighborhood

 

Our government

The real one of corporations, not rappers

Our government

Dresses our sons and daughters in fatigues

And sends them to Saudi Arabia

Where bombers bomb them and snipers snipe them

Three hundred billion dollars covered in blood and oil

Our leaders choke these Arabs with dollahs

Then when the blowback comes they blame it on Allah

 

When the man in uniform comes to your door to say

“I regret to inform you…”

You scream

The Saudi women scream

Because without our sons and daughters and dollars

The royal family would be overthrown

In a heartbeat

 

And Saudi women’s hearts would beat again

And your son’s heart would beat again

 

But what about the women here in America?

What about these words “bitch” and “ho”?

We want uplift

A different world, if you get my drift

But we’ve got no power

Those of us underpaid by the hour

We only have power

Over what we choose to listen to

Or what we choose to say

 

What about our leaders who have all the power?

Misogyny has many progeny

 

When you ask these leaders

Why did my daughter get killed in Saudi Arabia

And my niece amputated in Iraq?

When you ask these leaders

Why can’t my wife get health care?

When you ask these leaders

Why does my mother go hungry?

 

They answer:

It’s your songs, your lyrics, your images

Don’t ask us to get involved in bigger scrimmages

Til you clean up your act

 

When our leaders run this game

We believe them

We receive them

With respect they’ve never earned

 

When words mean more to us

Than a woman from Jalisco

Raped by the Border Patrol and left to die in the Arizona desert

Then yes, we must admit

It’s time to clean up our act

 

 

Poem / 2008