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The Belly

Aijuana Bifri

The Star-Spangled Banner plays and I don’t have my hands on my heart


next thing I know, I hear,


“You anti-American immigrant leech


if you don’t like America, why don’t you leave?


if you don’t like America, why don’t you go home?


you’ve talked shit about this country


expressing your pain in this country


aren’t you thankful we serve you in this country?


all you do is take money from this country


you ungrateful…”



Wait, wait, hold on. Ungrateful?


I wasn’t here by choice


America looked at me in the eye and told me it was time


there was barely anything else to consume in my country


so America consumed me when I packed my bags a road a plane to LA


now this beast got me trapped in his belly


and every day I struggle for a peace of mind



In the Philippines…


the aftermath of colonial war got our parents slain


that’s why children find a livin lookin up to white names


our rich culture and identity is left in hieroglyphics


now we live this sad reality today to be specific



Imagine houses made of cardboard and kids fifty pounds


kill each other for a bowl of soup, aint scared of the sound


of police, because it’s fight and die or don’t fight and die


this is Filipino reality when they look up to the sky


and see a billboard of the bully saying McDonald’s and Coke


reminding you that he can feed you and bring you some hope


that’s why we stab each other fearlessly, looking for change


but our hustle and our kill aint enough, it stays the same


each and every one of us tried to plant a seed to grow crops


but the bully buys it off so he could use it for stocks


he took our fruits with his Dole, took our milk with his Nestle


took our beach with his resort, took our shoes with his Nike’s


tells us we can’t progress, he’s convinced us we’re lazy


tells us we are less, while we watch his Hollywood babies


make us envy them and wish we were his little children


we look up to this cannibal who comes to us and we give him


what we have, but if we’re broke he comes to swallow us whole


am I supposed to feel good when he’s digesting what he stole?


digesting me, using me so he could grow, this tyrant


leviathan of the sea, ogre of a giant



We gave him all his nutrients, paying these taxes


working for less, build his success while he advances


he’s been to different lands, swallowed other brothers and sisters


now he says he will deport us as his belly gets stricter


as if we’re leaving his belly with more than we had before


his exploits, cost of living has made us remain poor


legal or illegal, immigrants boost the economy


washed white to bend in fields and prepared for sodomy



But maybe you’re right, maybe I should be grateful


in his belly with my mom’s paycheck-to-paycheck life


maybe I’d rather be here than my desolate land devoured


where billions of hungry mouths live each day with a dollar



Wherever I’m taken, without equity I’m restless


you see I’m not anti-American; I’m pro-justice.

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