Guest Poet Elisa M. Nicholas-McGee

On California Mission Collectible Items

In California, one gets used to euphemisms.  I know I've
grown accustomed to swapping one meaning for another

for instance, exchanging "prison" with "mission,"
"warden," with "Father"

and because I know that behind the cross was a gun
--both phallic, both shoved down the throat/up the ass
of First Peoples here

it's no wonder to me "cross" and "gun" were likewise
interchangeably employed.

September, 1998

Elisa M. Nicholas-McGee's Questions:

Is this poem still clear for someone not from California, or someone unaware of its "mission" history? 

Do the line breaks work?

Correspond with Elisa M. Nicholas-McGee at
with your ideas about this poem.

The Albany Poetry Workshop