Ms. Bourgeois

02-16 Mattei
Olga Elena Mattei
Colombian
b. 1933

I am a bourgeois lady
and have a swollen belly.
I try to write my thoughts
despite my sore throat.

I behave the way
some others want.
In common ground, the standard lie.
But,
for human beings
it is despicable to bear
labels which say:
“Dry clean only.”
“Handle with care.”

I have been a prodigious child,
a little brat,
a bad student,
a beauty queen,
a fashion model,
and one of those
that advertise
soups or sundries.

I got myself
into this inevitable mess,
by falling in love,
then sacrificing
a handsome man,
turning him
into a husband,
a sad situation.

(Not to mention
what kind of person
I have become!)

I have committed
an inconvenient
social crime:
adding five children to the crowd.

I have failed
as a mother,
and a wife,
as a lover,
as a reader
of philosophy.

All I can do,
with sad mediocrity,
is to be
a bourgeois wife,
unforgivably inconsequential,
deaf and blind:
a useless kind
of human mind.

And that
is
why
I always
have
a swollen belly,
and sometimes I want to scream
with such anger,
that my own raging words
do irritate my throat.

Then I write poetry
which has the sound
of a bass cord
inside my core.
Because
I know the truth:
that there’s a war, and violence, and crime
each single day,
while I am at the same time
sitting here
with no fear…
For dumb,
so doomed.
For deaf
So damned.

Not knowing what to do
I choose inertia.
I look the other way.
But inside myself, I cry.
Because
I remember
the hunger,
the children in tears
watching us
with open eyes…
far away or near,
the children
as real
as I.

At exactly
the same hour
we the ladies,
the socialites
keep sitting here
blinded,
surrounded
by disposable
happiness.

I do nothing
to see
if we can move the world
against poverty and drugs,
against violence and war!

Instead
there’s this insanity,
staying still,
contented with being
just ass holes.

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