Flowchart of Slurs
By Ethan Rivera
[LIVING IN FLORIDA] —> coconut —> wetback —> rafter —> boat rower —> block
hopper —> inbetweener —> [MOVES TO VIRGINIA] —> wetback —> spick —>
mexican dish rag boy —> mutt —> dirty blood —> ricky martin —> la vida loca —>
[NINE ELEVEN] —> terrorist —> enemy —> rag head —> sandbagger —> arab
looking motherfucker —> [HAIRCUT] —> whitey —> wannabe —> chameleon —>
well-spoken —> christian —> fake tan —> [BEARD GROWS] —> osama —>
terrorist —> al-quaeda —> sand huffer —> cabbie —> [WOMAN ASKS IF I AM
HISPANIC OR MIDDLE EASTERN]
How to Become the Titanic
By Ethan Rivera
Build large walls. Build them with old money. Dry money. Name it something
new. Make up the word. Tell them it’s safe. Like plenty of lifeboats. Poke holes
in paper ships. Show them sinking filled with salt and gills. Feed the hungry
with metal bars and ocean water. Background check. Foreground check.
Check everything. No Ellis Island. Locked doors. Doors can be walls of rebar
or ice. No scrapes or scratches. Shiny means novelty. Tell them novelty
means safe. No one was afraid of the Titanic sinking because they were told it
couldn’t. Google “terror”. Did you mean happiness? I’m feeling lucky. I mean
safe. Like prison. Prison is safe. Orange jumpsuit safe. Bottom floor sweat
with a coal shovel safe. Born here. Stay here. Out there, iceberg. In here,
shade. Don’t fear the wall. It’s safe. Like God. Like women and children. No
exports. No imports. It’s safe. Only Captain goes down with the ship. No fear.
Fear itself? No fear.
Ethan Rivera is the SlamMaster of Writing Wrongs Poetry Slam in Columbus, Ohio, and a National Poetry Slam Finalist in 2011. He currently runs writing and performance workshops with Mosaic, a local high school program in Columbus for art driven students.