Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Bienvenue"

This poem is spillover from the June 6, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] chanter_greenie. It also fills the "random act of kindness" square in my 5-1-16 card for the Solo Celebration Bingo fest. This is the second freebie for new prompters.


It isn't anything official.

Oh, Easy City has its share
of refugees who arrive through
conventional channels, but
they aren't the only ones,
and even they need more
than the officials can give.

The word spreads through
the old jawbone telegraph,
letting folks know who's who
and who needs what.

It comes through in the flash
of white teeth in a dark face.

It's there in lagniappe
added to a small bag of
groceries, enough for
one extra snack.

It's the black cab driver
who gives someone
a free lift to the clinic,
and the Choctaw cop who
coaxes a terrified victim
into reporting a crime.

There are bulletin boards
in the grade schools and
the human services buildings
that show random acts of kindness
to do, and ones already done.

When a band strikes up
a bit of merengue music,
the Dominican refugees smile.

There are Cajun food carts selling
cups of fried sweet plantains and
medianoche sandwiches to give
the Cubans a taste of home.

Someone writes a translation
in Haitian Creole on the signs that
point to the Easy City SPOON Base,
and nobody calls it vandalism.

The people who live here understand
how lucky they are to be here.

The locals know what it's like
to survive tornadoes, hurricanes, and
the occasional sinkhole-fueled earthquake.

They've had their share of supervillains, too.

Some of them have family stories of fleeing
to America from far-flung ancestral homes,
or escaping from slavery to make
a new life for themselves here.

So they reach out and invite
the new refugees to become
part of Easy City, weaving them
into the music and the food and
the colorful neighborhoods.

It doesn't need paperwork
or an official program.

It doesn't have to be fancy
to get the job done. It just
has to say Bienvenue.


* * *


bienvenue -- welcome
-- Cajun Glossary

jawbone telegraph -- gossip
(no online reference)

lagniappe -- a little something extra
-- Wikipedia

Random acts of kindness can help lift the spirits. You can make a bulletin board of kindnesses to do or already done. Browse a list of kind things to do.

Merengue music comes from the Dominican Republic.

Cuban cuisine has many tasty foods.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, ethnic studies, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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