Chicago writes: I Came to This Country On the Head of A Crocodile

Front and center features work from Neighborhood Writing Alliance

April 13, 2012


WBEZ’s Front and Center project will be launching a series about literacy in late May. We are highlighting writing from organizations around the city as we lead up to the series.


As an alien, I came to this country on the head of a crocodile,
to be recognized
in this land of the free.
I came prepared without any load.

As an alien in this land
of milk and something,
I have nothing yet in plenty.

I came here by boat, because
I cannot swim.
I don’t know why the plane left me
by the roadside.

No ticket,
no ticket.

From the very first day,
my alien name had changed
place to place.
Tragedies don’t care for me no more.
A hopeful loss,
remains my luck.

An alien,
an alien is a wind vane.
With two smiling ways
that have a low tolerance
to trust direction.

I left my home in Amso.
Vultures and white seagulls
are flying low
into the banks that cannot spell my name.

Eyes here, mouth there.
Camera is everywhere.
Snapping and snatching
the wrong faces.
Is an alien to be deported soon?

An alien,
don’t speak English well.
They cannot ask.
Cheap as Made in China.

In God we trust.
In this land of freedom, I hide.
Washing dishes, plucking rotten tomatoes,
jumping fences and hurdles,
an alien getting married soon.

Would the fence of heaven
keep the paradise dreamers
away from the kingdom come?
Crocodiles are waiting.

More from Front and Center and Chicago Writes:

Front and Center: Literacy series
Barrel of Monkeys: The Women Rampage

Fish Day and other stories