Padlocked, No Sanctuary

Poem by Jay Ressler inspired by my photo below with the same title 

Red and Green happy-colored asylums.
Strained iron barrier,
Aggressive spikes oppose intrusion.
Crimson stained garment
hastily knotted and unremembered.

Promised land
of broken promises;
Yearning masses huddled and denied,
Xenophobic disturbances Unrestrained,
Falsities rendered as un-lied.

A padlock,
Black and sturdy
Bars enshrouded gate.
Only privilege welcomed
African slaves ported in
Contraband made.

In ’39 Third Reich-fleeing Jews
906 in number,
Aboard the S.S. St. Louis denied
By Coast Guard enforcers with orders.
Made to retrace ocean steps.
254 lost to Holocaust.

Mexican and Mayan farmers
Answering the promise
Baked by the dozen
Under the torturous Apache Sun,
Sardined in Coyotes’ 25-ton.

Chinese migrants
Enslaved by dearly-paid promises
Salted and boiled
In floating tin cans
Sent by sea.

Where is B. Traven now,
To relate his tale of
A stateless man
Shanghaied to face his doom by rusta dub tub?
Who now remembers the Death Ship truths he told
about papered borders
and unpapered wars in permanent ink?

Only privilege welcomed
Slaves unendingly ported in
Forever contraband made.

No human being is Illegal
Unshroud the gate,
Discover the lock’s secret
Can we make our slaves free?
Can we make ourselves free?

-Jay M. Ressler