NOT WHAT IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE by Mather Schneider

A new Mexican telenovela
started last week
at 6 o’clock
on channel 46.

My wife and I
watch it
every night
while we eat
dinner.

Some of the characters
in the novela
live in a garbage dump
outside
Mexico City

a huge
seemingly endless
mountain range of refuse
where the poorest of the poor
build their shacks
call it home
pick the garbage daily
for things they can fix
and use or sell or wear or
eat
no place to even wash
themselves.

My wife is from
Mexico
and she assures me
this is not
fiction
and I can tell by the footage
it is no stage set.

Of course the actors
are not poor
but when the filming stops
real people do live there
in this garbage dump
this basurero
and they do live like
that
every day
fighting on the very edge
of existence
death is their neighbor
hunger their black butterfly.

They are not saints
and I know they would probably do
almost anything
to give their children
what we have

but
there is something
not what it is supposed to be
here:
ensconced
on factory-bought sofas
eating dinner
without real hunger
watching novelas
every night

clicking off the
tv
when the credits
roll

dishes washed
garbage cans pushed
to the curb

going to our soft
clean beds
to ready ourselves
for the coming
workday

lying here in the dark
feeling fat
restless
and filthy

3 Responses to “NOT WHAT IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE by Mather Schneider”

  1. Nice one, Mather, as I have come to expect from you. I’m not talking slum or poverty, but after a stay in rehab I totally appreciate the feeling of sleeping in my own comfortable bed. Thanks for the good poem.

  2. Telling of reality, well-told.

  3. Mather Schneider has written a poem that is about a televised, Mexican soap opera but he’s done it in a way that the reader is made aware of some grim realities that cannot be ignored. I think that this work is brilliant and I don’t know of another poet who can pull off such a feat and in such a manner.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: