By W. Todd Kaneko
Tonight the radio knows how it feels
to be turned on and tuned in to the right
frequencies. Let's all shake our hips
to its sputter and hiss: oh no, let's go—
Listen up my brothers, unemployed,
unnoticed, undead and eaten by machines
until all we have are hungry ghosts. My brothers
with fake wallets and chicken bones, bodies
made of firecrackers while the country
sprays us all down with flame: let's go—
Listen my sisters, overworked,
overlooked and underpaid over and over
again because they are not my brothers.
My sisters with tongues wrapped around
the English language tighter than America
expects, cheeks smeary with sweat
and mascara and stardust: let's go—
My children who are afraid to go outside
for fear of bullets or handcuffs or old sneakers
dangling from power lines overhead: let's go—
Our mothers with sore backs and breasts
and bruises on the inside, with beautiful
morning faces and empty cradles: let's go—
Our fathers, who live in faraway houses, life
more shadow than flesh, more skeleton than bread
winner like the stars are more cold light
than cosmic fire: oh no, let's go let's go
let's go because the afterlife ain't no place
for those houses we once lived in, drenched
with those aromas of weird foods our grandmothers
once cooked. Not weird but precious, not food
but life, not cooked but resurrected
to remind us we don't have to live
in houses where the elevators don't travel
to every floor, in houses without elevators
because one day the world will take
from you someone you cannot live without,
everyone you cannot live without. Everyone
throw our fists up high so the angels feel us
punching at their floor. Stomp our feet and
give the Devil a shiny new concussion,
his head orbited by wiggly stars and tweety birds
because tonight the radio comes to life for us.
All we need is to move our bodies together.
The right song gets our party started.
The right song is revolution.
W. Todd Kaneko is the author of The Dead Wrestler Elegies (Curbside Splendor 2014). His prose and poems can be seen in Bellingham Review, the Los Angeles Review, [PANK], the Normal School, the Collagist, Barrelhouse, and elsewhere. A recipient of fellowships from Kundiman and the Kenyon Review Writer's Workshop, he co-edits Waxwing magazine and lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he teaches at Grand Valley State University.