ILLEGALESE: FLOODGATE DUB
for the Chinese maroons, British Columbia, 1999-2000
if you arrive in the belly of a rusting imagination, there are grounds
to outlaw you. but Canada is a remix B-side chorus in the globalization
loop: a sampled track of "back home"-desiring, "old days"-admiring,
democracy-dreaming, racism-reaping homesickness that even medicare
can't cure. there is no "fresh off the boat" or the plane or the hope
of consistency in foreign and foreigner policy or obduracy of floodgate
metaphors and death sentence deportations. the backbeat back-bone
of the chorus that screeches "back home!" is the drum and bass treble
track alliteration of Koma-Koma-Komagatamaru. and the stowaway
that the border refused will be the head stone of the corner.
when the destination is a nation that prides itself and peace-keeping
but is still sleeping on the justice and compassion
implicit in that
when jurisdiction cuts the earth to the bone,
the proper diction is the unspoken issue, and the flesh
of the people's colour in the boats in the hull in the belly of a dream
without papers or definition, in quotations, "refugee," a penstroke
from relief. languishing in the languaged exile of illegalese.
and if it was heroic for runaway slaves to seep into Canada,
why is it villifiable for Chinese migrants to hide in the belly of a dream
now? and when you want to draw the line or put your foot down
or formulate enough is enough is enough is enough
what colour is enough? what language does it speak?
and isn't that the real issue written between the bordered lines,
the bartered lives in the semantic peanut and shell game?
in barricaded comfort, behind arm chair palisades,
wielding remote control diplomacy like a wand,
we cultivate our cathode curtain without détente.
with children lullabyed by Filipino nannies, industry is carving
up the melon of our lotused coast. and "floodgates"
and ever shall say
but people are not a flood, borders are not God-given,
lives are not dollars, Canada is not the sum of its exclusions.
- Wayde Compton