You would have had 1000 Rembrandts
except you made artificial playing fields
and concrete surfaces the gods
of your town. You made your art
as non-threatening as possible,
and forgot that children need crayons
as much as they need love and vitamin B.
You should have had 500 Madame Curies,
but you kept the hands of 10,000 girls
occupied with wash water and found
10,000,000 excuses for them to never
leave home- and an infinite number of
ways to enforce the rules of man and
church and a purported god that hates them.
You could have had 50 Gandhis
if you had not coerced your sensitive and
thoughtful child into following your
footsteps selling gum on buses
to buy your wide-screen tv; swallowing
the medicine of self-negation and being
convinced that it is not work if you are
not producing something to be consumed.
Selling childhood, virginity, innocence
as commodities on the open market;
bodies are appropriated as well
as any other form of slavery in history.
The whole scene designed to plaster a
happy colorful smile over a broken spirit
and muffled voice; to be present but never
contribute; recipients of visions selected
by prejudices and limitations of their
By Marie Anzalone
This piece was originally written in Spanish. It was precipitated by a series of conversations about the crippling effects of poverty on human potential, especially on children of exceptional ability who are denied opportunities that their richer counterparts have. Tourists flock to the country I live in to snap pictures of the happy colorful indigenous children out working in the streets, without ever realizing that, for many of these children and youth, they are forced into a form of servitude that replaces education and normal maturation. As someone recently posted on Facebook, “I am far less interested in the size of Einstein’s brain than I am in the number of child geniuses laboring at menial tasks who never get an opportunity to show their greatness.”
Marie Anzalone is a development worker researching climate change effects in the rural Guatemalan highlands, where she lives with an active volcano in her backyard and a passionate love for all things arts and sciences. She crunches precipitation data and interviews poor farm wives on her good days and humbles herself the rest of the time presenting poetry in Spanish in front of a tough crowd who are quick to remind her of every gender and verb tense error she has ever made. She has been writing poetry for more than 15 years, and would like to offer a few pieces for consideration in your esteemed publication. She is offering the following 5 poems: “41 Fireflies,” “That Morning in August,” “Daily Consumption,” “Maternal Line,” and “The Freedom of a Rainy Day.”
Her creative writing and essays and short stories have been published in the Namaste Human Rights Journal of the University of Connecticut (2010), and several times in The Larcenist, Rising Phoenix Press, and Versewrights. She has published three stand-alone books of poetry, which may be found under her author profile on Goodreads and on Amazon, and has had works included in several creative writing anthologies. The five pieces she is offering have not been previously published through any print format other than her personal blog on Writers Café.