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Remi Kanazi: Cleaning Up Your Mess

Cleaning Up Your Mess

Remi Kanazi

I came to this country because I was hungry
To get my shirt dirty and pay my dues
And I know I’m not you
I wasn’t born here
Without the fear of not feeding my family
Some people can’t stand to see me walk around this city
But I’m not the enemy they paint me out to be

I work more than nine to five to survive
I slave for twelve hour days to pay the rent
To put smiles on my children’s faces
To send my relatives money in different places

My wife’s a chamber maid
Making less than minimum wage
But this is our way to go
We work harder than any citizen we know
Because we’ve seen worse
We were cursed
Brought up in poverty

I left my country to make a life better for my family
I don’t know why you’re so scared of me
We have furthered this society
And we do it quietly
We work the jobs you won’t do
We clean your pools
Your schools
Pick the fruit that sits on your tables
We clean your stables
Groom your lawn
And we’re still pawned by politics
You don’t want us to drive
Or further our lives
You just want us to work and barely get paid
No social security
No health care
Just slavery in a bigger cage

We help
Not hurt this country
You’re lucky we don’t just get up and leave
Because then you’d have to rake your own leaves
You’d have to bus your own dishes
Make your own sandwiches
You never once mention your advantages
You just want to get a bigger edge
A larger slice of my small piece of pie
But I’ve worked hard to be here
And I’ve done my work with pride

I’m not going back Mexico
I’m staying here for good
Unless you know a cheaper mechanic
That can pop that dent out of your hood


Remi Kanazi is the primary writer for the political website He lives in New York City as a Palestinian American freelance writer, poet and performer and can reached via email at

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