ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
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.


"Bienvenue"


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.

Welcome.

* * *

Notes:

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.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-15 07:04 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Yay!

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2017-06-15 08:20 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
You are very awesome and I hope to be able to be more coherent about why this summer, but right now, just, thank you, thank you, thank you.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-15 11:58 am (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
You know, gotta work a little of this into something of mine when I get the time...

so thank you for this 'little something extra', 'cause it's given me a bit of an idea.
Edited Date: 2017-06-15 11:59 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-15 12:14 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
So many warm fuzzies! :)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-15 12:39 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Aaaaah, ye olde Coconut Telegraph ... twenty five words or less ... (fins UP!)

Now I want a cubano. When I was in college, this old fellow what owned a store on the corner made the best ones. He *was* a refugee; he'd been a chemist in Batista's Cuba... but he made a good living selling sandwiches and sundries to the construction workers and us students ...

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-06-15 04:36 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
*Somebody* has to make the cubanos, to run the bodega, to be the hairdresser, the bus driver, the people that you see every day. Because you know what? These people have stories, and they tell them. And ordinary white guys like me (and I was ordinary when I moved there, you see, although there was change afoot beneath the surface) hear those stories... and they remember.

History makes an impact when you hear it from those who have Been There and Done That.

It's kinda like Brooksie in Shawshank. If Señor Ramirez (say the names!) had worked as a chemist, he'd have been just another old dude ramming analyses with a funny accent. Nobody special. But in that store, he was the Cubano Guy, he had a Thing, he *mattered*. And I miss him.

("Get busy living, or get busy dying. That's damn right." (And if you didn't read that in Morgan Freeman's voice... :) )

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-06-15 04:49 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
True, and those people deserve a living wage, too.

You damn skippy. Every last tentacle-monster of'em.

Señor Ramirez did well enough that he shrunk the grocery aisles of the bodega and put in tables so people could eat in rather than having to take the sandwiches to go... and he hired a Latina woman to help him during rush hour. By the time I left if you didn't get there by 11:15 you were gonna *wait*, it was line out the door...

He had good problems. :)

(What *is* Tim up to these days??)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-16 01:30 am (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri
A little something extra is a very, very good thing to do, when you can manage it.

Re: Yes...

Date: 2017-06-16 01:45 am (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri
I plan, pretty soon, to take a handful of the jewelry pieces I've been making, go out into town somewhere a lot of people pass through, & hang em up on trees & such, for whoever finds em. I just want to come up with a somewhat catchy, non-cheesy way to say 'if you've found this, it's yours'...

[edit] I want to add something about how scarcity/austerity sucks & let's try some abundance, but words are being hard.
Edited Date: 2017-06-16 01:46 am (UTC)

Re: Yes...

Date: 2017-06-16 02:14 am (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri
...see, this is (one of the many reasons) why I hang out with you...

Thank you!

Once I've designed my own (assuming I remember, but, well) I'll get a pic & send it to you for sharesies purposes.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
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