Hope in Hope City, Arizona

Hope in Hope City, Arizona

A Poem by JR Darewood
"

I wrote this at a truck stop in Hope City.

"

You lean up against your acid-wash blue 1979 Chevy and crack a beer. It’s 10am in Hope City, Arizona.  You hope they open a Walmart here, one day, you tell me.  Not because you want to buy anything, but because if you just work hard enough they might pay you more than the nothing you made today.

 

Because if you work hard, in the land of the free, this recession just might end, and you can buy a shiny new truck, a black 2013 GMC that barely fits in a car lane and towers over all the cars around you.

 

That’s your happily ever after.

 

But happy endings are lies invented by men more clever than you and I to seduce us into doing their bidding.  Your deluded means is actually another man’s end, and your happy ending is the means to your slavery.  

 

You believe you are free because in 1776 a man said no to a king and fought a war.  So now we all can be kings, you say as you try to sell food stamps for the things you need, like beer and cigarettes and tools to fix your broken truck.

 

But maybe we are kings, your Nike shoes sewn by children in Indonesia, my salad picked by Oaxaccan migrants living in Watsonville, California.  There are no slave drivers with whips, only a machine that pushes them forward in the sun, picking as fast as they can in a cloud of pesticides until they collapse in the concrete block they call a home and feed their children uncooked Ramen noodles because that’s all they could afford on 2 dollars an hour.  It can’t be slavery because that ended with another man and another war in 1861.

 

I met the boy who sewed your shoes in a factory in Indonesia, and his dream is to live beside you in Hope City, Arizona.  He doesn’t know you scramble to afford rent on a mobile home you don’t own and your neighbors are addicted to meth amphetamines.  If he just sews more shoes maybe he can get a better job and make enough money to fly here one day to live in the trailer next to you, trading food stamps for cigarettes in this dying city off the freeway inhabited by dust devils and tumbleweed.

 

The recession will end, you promise. Things will turn around when the gas prices drop.  Technology will solve everything, say the smiling executives.  But behind the curtain, the Wizard of Oz is frantic.  New technology has scraped the edges of every pit in this husk of an earth for that very last drop of petrol, and all that’s left to do is fight over the carcass like a pack of angry dogs.  Technology turned the water poison, said the woman by the oil well with the deformed fetus growing inside her.

 

You want me to tell you that everything will be okay, like a parent comforting a child with a bedtime story.  But even children deserve the truth.  It’s not going to be okay. The forest is dead, the earth is a giant plantation, and we are servants serving tea to the captains of a sinking ship. Your free market is a prison warden, making promises no more meaningful than the promises Stalin made to his Soviet serfs.  Feudalism only changes its name from place to place; our hopes and dreams are fantasies fed to us by fatter men.  Dreams are the drivers of self-deluded slaves: there is no hope in Hope City because we don’t know what to hope for.

 

I could tell you all these things that flashed through my mind in that fraction of a second, when you told me about your dreams as you leaned up against your dusty Chevy... but instead I will smile and nod and wish you luck with your Walmart, just like I smiled for the little boy who sewed your shoes in that factory in Indonesia.

 

I’m truly glad that glimmer hope shines in your eyes, my Hope City friend, because that way at least one of us can still dream.

© 2013 JR Darewood


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~ this is an extremely powerful piece of writing... it's social commentary done exceptionally well... you've said a lot in just a few words... and the word play with the word "hope" is definitely something that only a truly literary mind could've accomplished...

~ i think there are two key schools of thought out there... one has to do with hoping to reach a particular destination... and the other has to do with thinking that life is a journey and "hope" is the fuel... ~ one is a destination-centric approach and the other is a journey-centric approach...

~ after seeing and experiencing that which was (for me) extreme forms of physical and psychological torture... and unearthing the purpose of my existence... which might be utterly minor in the larger scheme of things but is colossal for me... i believe that it is hope that leads one to one's cause... a sense of never giving up... a sense of knowing that one can tweak the universe... albeit in a tiny way... we all have one vote...

~ and so... i really appreciate the fact that the narrator smiled at the little boy in indonesia... and i do "hope" that the positive energy in that smile will cause a ripple effect... :)

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

JR Darewood

7 Years Ago

well, none of this really happened it was just a fantasy I had at a truck stop while thinking about .. read more
.

7 Years Ago

~ mister ed hart once said and i quote... "some of us are constitutionally incapable of colouring in.. read more



Reviews

when our words meet metal, we can change the world

i am humbled by your art here

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

[send message][befriend] Subscribe
.
~ this is an extremely powerful piece of writing... it's social commentary done exceptionally well... you've said a lot in just a few words... and the word play with the word "hope" is definitely something that only a truly literary mind could've accomplished...

~ i think there are two key schools of thought out there... one has to do with hoping to reach a particular destination... and the other has to do with thinking that life is a journey and "hope" is the fuel... ~ one is a destination-centric approach and the other is a journey-centric approach...

~ after seeing and experiencing that which was (for me) extreme forms of physical and psychological torture... and unearthing the purpose of my existence... which might be utterly minor in the larger scheme of things but is colossal for me... i believe that it is hope that leads one to one's cause... a sense of never giving up... a sense of knowing that one can tweak the universe... albeit in a tiny way... we all have one vote...

~ and so... i really appreciate the fact that the narrator smiled at the little boy in indonesia... and i do "hope" that the positive energy in that smile will cause a ripple effect... :)

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

JR Darewood

7 Years Ago

well, none of this really happened it was just a fantasy I had at a truck stop while thinking about .. read more
.

7 Years Ago

~ mister ed hart once said and i quote... "some of us are constitutionally incapable of colouring in.. read more
I agree with so much of this I'm not entirely sure where to start, So I'll start with this.
There are always people looking for better paid work.
People from Vanauatu come to NZ because they get more here than they do there.
New Zealanders go to Australia because we get more there than here.
Australians go to England because they get more there.
Anyone see a pattern?
The worst part of all of this is the fact that governments refuse to change the minimum wage to a LIVING wage.
In NZ, the minimum wage is $13.75 an hour, the living wage is now said to be $18 an hour, the rent, power, water, insurance, and food prices have all risen while wages haven't, there is a massive problem in this country with kids going to school with no breakfast and no lunch in their bags, there are kids that don't go to school at all because their parents cannot afford their uniform and / or petrol to get them there.
It disgusts me that the price of a two litre of milk ranges from $3 (on special) to $6.70, depending on the brand, three times and more, higher than than a two litre of fizzy drink at $1.
Fresh foods are far more expensive than highly processed stuff that we are constantly told to avoid, but have to buy so we can stretch the budget to last the week.
There are parents out there going to work hungry to make sure their kids are fed, and by the end of the week, the kids end up going hungry as well because the food runs out.
There are far more cases of obesity, high blood pressure and vitamin deficiancys in this country than there was only a few years ago.
Now that I've got that out of my system, I will say that I did enjoy reading this piece, it struck a nerve and I like that, it is brilliantly written and brutally honest.
Without a doubt, the best piece I've read in a while.

Tammy.

Posted 7 Years Ago


JR Darewood

6 Years Ago

Thanks Tammy, i feel you. All of what you said is tied together-- labor forces are globalized but a.. read more
Wow. This is a powerfully written and heartfelt piece. The story of so many in every city in America, blissfully oblivious. Great write.

Posted 7 Years Ago



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Added on April 8, 2013
Last Updated on April 8, 2013

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JR Darewood
JR Darewood

Los Angeles, CA



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Writing is really the greatest release. It teaches you to take notice of the depth of the world around you and channel it into new insights you want to share with the world. I love it. BTW: I turne.. more..

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