‘We Exist’: A Poem by Maria Alexandria Beech

You came to my land
To look for oil,
Took most
Of the profit
To New York,
Houston, Detroit,

You exploited
The weak all along,
Knowing,
You were wrong.

Guess what?
It made us
Stronger.

No longer will we
Sit back
While you stick
Your instruments
In our earth.

Slick and slick,
Stone and stone,

The soothsayer
Went home,
When you reached
The fifth layer.

From my birth,

I’ve planned
To take back,
What you took.

Wet sand and land.

I resist,

By crossing the border

To remind you,

That we exist,
And we’re getting stronger,

You didn’t ask
For permission,
To burst holes
On the shores
Of the Orinoco,

Barroso No 2 Oil Gusher, 1922, Venezuela

Barroso No 2 Oil Gusher, 1922, Venezuela

You drank our liquids
Sated your thirst,
For what?
Dollar bills,

Drill first,
Ask later.

We’re here
To insist,
That we exist.

Stand back
From my well,
And let me tell
You the truth.

You’re not bright,
Or lovely,
And perhaps your biggest
Blunder was to think
You could plunder
Our depths,

Without going under,

With us.

Every black drop,
Of blood and oil,
Has a price,

At first,
We were nice,
Because we trusted you.

No more.

You made your intentions
Abundantly clear,

Your clenched fists,
And sweet lies,

You looked in our eyes,
Fed us fear
With tenderness.

Forty/sixty
Wasn’t on your list.

So it’s time
To insist,

The time is here
For you to know,
We exist.

Count the barrels,
Of heavy crude,
Convert every
Nickel and dime,

No need to dwell
On the crime.

We’ll work things out,
On your soil.

(I apologize if
I’m foiling your plans
For further gain.)

But a million pains,
And a million sorrows,

And all the oil
You stole and found,
Every hole you made,
Can never repaid
On desecrated ground.

I’m here to remind you,
Once more,

And you may want
To write this down,

We exist.

***

Maria Alexandria Beech @alexbeech is a playwright and librettist who lives in New York. Currently, her musical, CLASS, is being workshopped at Hope College. Her play about surrogacy in India, INFINITY POND, was included in the Palm Beach Theatre Festival and Perry-Mansfield New Works Festival, and her play, GOOD FRIENDS, is part of the Crossing Borders Theater Festival in August.

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