Voices From These Times: ‘Farmer’

Manny Sosa

Today is Giving Tuesday, the single biggest day of giving for nonprofits. Once you've finished reading this story, please consider making a tax-deductible donation this Giving Tuesday to support this work.

In These Times has partnered with the Neighborhood Writing Alliance (NWA) to amplify the stories and struggles of ordinary people, including workers in the United States. This piece, part of an ongoing biweekly series, originally appeared in the Journal of Ordinary Thought , published by NWA. Find more stories and voices at the NWA’s blog.

FARMER A”

Opium is bad for people
but really good for farmer.
Good for farmer. Bad for people.
Cultivating opium is the
only way to feed my wife and kids.
A jungle clearing dotted with bright,
bright pink poppies.
A green bulb oozes sticky latex
that is processed into the potent
heroin wreaking havoc in Chicago
and much of America.

I grow it along steep mountainsides
so they don’t get sprayed by the
government

A kilogram.
A kilogram of heroin goes
for 90 thousand dollars. That’s big!
I get 4 grand for all my effort.

I think of it as job security
for America the Beautiful.
The Emergency Rooms across
that country
have to be reeling with overdoses
from my cultivated opium.
I’m not provided an alternative
way to make a living.

When I’m done here, I go home and
get an ice-cold beer with some
cranberries.
Ironically this happens in a
town called El Congresso, Colombia.

FARMER B”

Coffee bean is good. Primo.
I’m a coffee bean farmer.
I grow the best beans in the world,
Promised top dollar for my
Crops — 88 cents a pound.

My family survives only on beans and
bananas.

Bananas for breakfast, beans for lunch,
and bananas and beans for dinner.

All I’m asking for is a little help here.

Where on earth is the fucking justice?
I get one cent for each cup
of Starbucks.

Pinche Starbucks
The paleteros in the states get
50 cents for each ice cream sold.
Better than me. They eat rice.

I can’t even get rice for my family.
How could this happen?
What am I going to do now?
The government took my youngest
Coz I couldn’t afford a proper burial
for my wife.

If I try really hard, I can pretend
my spit tastes like cranberries.

Ironically this happens in a
town called El Congreso, Colombia.

Giving Tuesday: Support Progressive Journalism

Today is the single biggest day of the year for giving to nonprofits—last year, individual donors collectively gave more than $2.5 billion to nonprofit organizations in the U.S. alone on Giving Tuesday.

For In These Times, today also marks the kick-off of one of our most important fundraising drives ever.

Giving Tuesday began nearly a decade ago as a way to harness the power of collective giving and highlight the important work of nonprofit organizations. For In These Times, being a nonprofit is more than just a financial model. It is central to our very mission.

The traditional, for-profit news model was built on a foundation of corporate ad dollars. From the beginning, this has been a devil’s bargain that limits what can be published by corporate media outlets and inevitably warps what they do print. In These Times is not beholden to any corporate interest.

Who are we beholden to? You—our community of readers. Support from readers allows In These Times to maintain our independence and speak truth to power. It is how we are able to continue publishing the stories readers—like you—want to read, and the voices that need to be heard in this political moment.

This Giving Tuesday, support independent, progressive journalism by making a tax-deductible donation to In These Times.

Subscribe and Save 66%

Less than $1.67 an issue