Monday, November 14, 2011

Jesus: a poem

Latin Americans, generally speaking,
have no problem naming their
sons Jesus.

Anglo Americans, generally speaking,
do. It would be like naming your
son "God's Son"
which, for some reason,
is offensive.

This is culturally significant.

Anglo-Americans tend to view Jesus
as an object of worship.
Latin Americans tend to view Jesus
as a model to emulate.

And so it was that Jesus Aguilar,
male nurse,
found himself in the care
of one William Chapman,
who was in the late stages
of dementia.

Jesus Aguilar's grandfather,
Francisco, had worked in Chapman's
orange groves and had, like all
Mexican-Americans at the time,
been forced to live on a
work-camp, while the Chapmans
lived in the "big house."

During the Great Depression,
Chapman had fired Francisco,
had him deported to Mexico,
to make way for whites who
needed jobs.

Like many late-stage dementia cases,
William Chapman tended to confuse
past with present.
He would often,
as Jesus changed his bed pan
or refilled his water bottle,
cry out,
"Who is this wetback?!"

Jesus, who could very easily have
clipped Mr. Chapman's I.V., sent him
mercifully out of this would,
instead joked with Mr. Chapman,
"It's me, Jesus,"

as he washed feces and urine
from the back of the old
man's balls.

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