Salvador da Bahia, 2008

i come here to study
poverty
how the poor can exercise power to cause
redistribution
we encounter you: two boys too young to shave.
your ancestors were kidnapped and given the
opportunity
to cut sugar cane and make other people rich
do you even know that much of your history
or just that
i have it
you want it
and a gun is power?

i’ve imagined this situation in my mind.
having conversations of rational argumentation about how you’re not justified in doing this.
especially not to me. i’ve dedicated my career to helping people just like you.
you don’t give a shit.
you just want my money.
because money is power
and the gun gives you the power to take the money
which gives you the power to satisfy your endless need
for the shit billboards teach you to need.
and the real tragedy is not the loss of my host cousin’s camera
or us feeling unsafe
it is that 500 years after lisbon began extorting wealth with guns
to meet its endless appetite for
more
you’ve become the same bloody thing

[i know it’s not fair because they may have just needed to eat, but this is how i felt at the time]