by Peter Byrne
(Swans - July 30, 2007)
He: Like the song says, This land is my land.
She: What song?
He: Didn't you sing that one when you were in school?
He: Me neither. But I remember it.
She: How does it go?
He: I only remember the title.
She: Good title. Comes right at you.
He: They said what they meant back then.
She: Like a sign on the fence, Keep Out.
He: That's the message.
She: The geezer's got his.
He: Right. He's not saying, Where's mine? He's saying, I got mine and keep your hands off.
She: Those were the days all right. Sounds as though he'd snip fingers.
He: Yeah, and you know something? That's why you don't hear the song anymore. You can't get away with law and order nowadays.
She: Cutting off fingers? I've heard it argued pro and con.
He: He's saying that there are too many of them.
She: Of them? Fingers?
He: People who weren't in the country before.
She: Before what?
He: Before he got here.
She: Before he put up his keep-out sign?
He: Right. You see, it was his land, the geezer's. He liked people who looked like himself. It's understandable.
She: Depends what he looked like.
He: The trouble with greenhorns is that they come in all shapes and sizes. Then they have kids.
She: The kids generally start small size.
He: The geezer didn't care for all that multi-multi. Those people chatter. It upset him.
She: They won't just sit and listen to the talk-radio guys. They start talking themselves.
He: Not that the geezer was against fixing them up with a job, if they'd fit in quietly.
She: But he couldn't see why their relatives had to keep coming, and right up his street. Did those folks never stay home?
He: Exactly. So you can understand why he put his keep-out sign on the Rio Grande. No more counting fingers. The geezer's got them cooking up an immigration bill.
She: No kidding?
He: Something has to be done about illegal immigrants.
He: Because they're illegal.
She: How do you tell them apart from the legal ones?
He: It's hard. But those senators will find a way. Maybe tattoo a number on their wrists.
She: That's why we pay them.
He: Yes siree. And they're working on it. They've already come up with some swell pigeonholes: The stiffs with a piece of paper, those without one and the guest workers.
She: That sounds like a picnic. Was your grandfather one of those undocumentos?
He: I think so, but he didn't know it. He sure wasn't a guest worker. He had no table manners.
She: The guest worker nametag is cute. Those senators have a future in PR. But didn't the Germans think of it first?
He: Arbeit Macht Frei?
She: No, I mean the good Germans, our Germans.
He: In Germany those Turkish invitees sing the blues: Somebody keep telling me, don't hang around. Now that's a song I remember, Sam Cooke, 1964.
She: Still, guest worker sounds comfy. Maybe my grandmother was one of those. In her old age she had a thing about sending formal invitations. You know, Gertie Blumberg Requests Your Participation S.V.P.
He: You think they sent her an engraved thingamajig to come over please and help us out for a dollar a day?
She: In the end Gran liked embossed borders. But early on she'd have had trouble reading keep-out signs.
He: My grand pop would have put his foot on the sign for a leg up to climb over the fence.
She: Back then they only learnt about the law when their son became a lawyer.
He: That had to stop.
She: It worked too well.
He: There're twelve million illegals out there.
She: I suppose that is a lot of lawyers.
He: The senators have counted them and want to send them all back.
She: Twelve million?
He: Makes you think, doesn't it? I mean that's a pretty big hole to dig in the landscape.
She: And nobody left to dig it. Those senators think big. What are they going to do, put the dogcatchers to work?
He: They're getting billions for enforcement tools.
She: Is that what they call those nets on a hoop the dogcatcher uses?
He: This is the third millennium. We got infrared cameras, triple-layer fencing, and a secret weapon called the Z visa.
She: I always had a feeling the dogcatcher liked dogs.
He: That was then. I wish I could remember how that song went. I hear, This land is my land and then nothing.
She: How about This land is my land man and you better scram?
He: Won't do. It rhymes too much.
She: Let's wake up the pooch and take a walk. We can pick up a takeaway at the Chinaman's.
He: I'll ask him if he's started on the senators' pathway to citizenship for gatecrashers.
She: Is that a low-fat chop suey?
He: It's the plan. They send these eager beavers back to where they came from. The change of air makes them virgins again. Then they sell them an entry ticket to get back into God's Country, washed of sin. It's a born-again thing.
She: The senators ought to make the greenhorns crawl both ways on their stomachs. It would elevate them to our moral heights. But what do we do for egg rolls while Charlie's on the road?
He: He's got a cousin a couple of blocks down with a wok of his own.
She: Now that's planning.
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