Tag Archives: political writing

Knowing How the World is Broken

for Haiti after 2010 earthquake


Damage to the Presidential Palace is most obvious,

for it is hard to tell which of the other buildings

were already on their knees when the shaking struck.


In the pictures I have seen,

wide eyes look out

from their black and brown backgrounds

onto a fresh horror that

arrived from deep beneath the earth.


The soil is used to blood in Haiti

and the world is used to watching.


The news reports say the quake registered

seven on the scale,

but the island has been at the epicenter

since Columbus landed with smallpox and crucifixes –

lost but determined to profit.


To rebuild the Presidential Palace,

     where the Tonton Macoutes were born

     where Poppa schooled Baby Doc

          to brutalize in the grandest Western way,

               first in ties and suits and then

              wearing pleated uniforms with

              officers’ hats and a small herd of

              medallions hung from their breasts

              marking where their hearts had died,

postcards will be used for comparison.


In the pictures I have seen

it is clear that the heavens too

turned their backs long ago

just as we do daily here on earth.


Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2010. All rights reserved.

the news

the news is used

to shape the views

of those who try

to stay in tune


by turning to

their favorite


for their bits

of information


every shot and word

that’s spewed

is glue renewed

for building nations.


Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2009. All rights reserved.


How miracles are made

Now that the captain

has been freed from the pirates

everyone walking out of church

on their way to Easter brunch

will hear the story and swear

their prayers and yellow ribbons

had something to do with

his release.

I am pretty sure the pirates

have a god they pray to, too

and back at their Somali bases

everyone hearing of the lost captain

will listen and be thankful

that their prayers and deep submission

has allowed them to keep

200 other captives.


Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2009. All rights reserved.

Achtung, said the raven

(before the reverend arrived)

Cause this is when things
     can turn ugly…


200 laid off equines

from the republic

of windows and doors

took over the building

as its closure

meant that their living

was leaving

without guaranteeing

their severance pay

would surely be made

in exactly the same way

that the corporate dogs

from the banks

got their scratch

from the pigs

who are running

this animal farm —

but you have to remember

the addendum, my brothers,

     not that we are equals,

     but that some “are more equal

               than others.”


Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2008. All rights reserved.

drive time radio

The guy on the radio is
spitting into the airwaves
and I can smell his fear
as I drive home from work.


Who in the world are you
dying to speak to, who only

speaks Spanish,

he asks, but he’s no racist.


He can’t believe what’s

happening to his country

cannot stand the idea

of programs like affirmative action.


Unless I need my pool cleaned
or need to have my lawn properly cut
why would I need to speak Spanish

he asks, but he’s no racist.


I’ve listened to him tell stories

about his father in uniform

like it’s a Lamarckian trait passed on

which gives him true patriotism.


He talks of his preference for

tall blonde Icelandic types (typical)

and his fetish for Asians and hookers (exotic)

but he’s no racist (or misogynist for that matter).


He forgets that after he was done

playing yippie (he claims)

being arrested 50 times

at civil rights protests (he claims)

he went back to being white

and even changed his family name

to be a better kind of white

by dropping the vowel at the end –

like that was an option for the rest us.


I’ve read that he lies about being single.

I’ve heard he was “mistaken” about

the journalism degree he never received.

Lied about having won a Pulitzer prize

that doesn’t exist for online writing.


And now he’s spitting mad

because he fears the fascists

the communists, the socialists,

the radicals, the America hating bunch

who doesn’t get the rules he lives by

is gonna shut him down

and is gonna spread the wealth

he’s worked so hard to get.


Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2008. All rights reserved.