- Refugee Bodily Orbits
THEY cannot exist in America Or so say people like Oprah See those fleeing, floating . . . Those Black, brown, yellow, red bodies Purple-blue shapes and hues The Bloated Dead The Living Dead Swallowed up by brackish water From slum-worlds and Farm stock In these resides an unstill quality A resilient efflux, Chilled to the bone Grounded, Perplexing, People-like Phantom Citizens
No less in Mobile, Gainesville, or Brownsville, They scatter about in Di-a-spo-ra In various “states” of being, dwelling Ghosting on History’s raft . . . Distilled Vestiges, Fragments, Particles Families, Kinfolk, the Multitude Mooring in Managed Chaos: Enron, Exxon, Wal-Mart See how Wealth’s Toxin makes Vietnamese refugees displaced again Haitian refugees dislodged once more African Peonage for another millennium They are here and there . . . Where Slavery abounds, Life Burnished
A Great Migration begins where Citizens are in Transit, Ripped up By Police, Gentrification, Globalization The Welfare of Living Ensues Where Refugees don’t exist, Can’t Bear to inhabit their habitation But they continue nonetheless, Pregnant With the possibility of Return, Exiled [End Page 829] Populi of another Place, Yet Worldly They bear witness to themselves
In an economy of Waste and Specter Proctor and Gambling with Lives A Great Experiment Begins Where the body notices that What we cannot refuse The Refuse, We cannot Witness [End Page 830]
Long T. Bui is a PhD candidate in the Department of Ethnic Studies at UC San Diego. He is working on a dissertation on technoculture, globalization, and Asian American popular media.