Commentary on "No Public Safety" by Chrystos

Topics: Native Americans in the United States, Disability, Schizophrenia Pages: 2 (700 words) Published: October 28, 2012
“No Public Safety”

English Essay Test

Chrystos’s poem “No Public Safety”, about the mentally disabled Native American homeless woman named Anna Mae Peoples, is a voice of being not only bodily assaulted with drugs and forced “treatment”, but also with being assaulted with words. In her poem that author provides a sharp critique on the implications of poverty, racism and sexism.

The plot of this poem is a life of a Native American homeless woman who is chronic paranoid schizophrenic. Because of her mental disability, or let’s say psychiatric oppression, she can’t take care of herself. She sleeps in a Public Safety building and is always being stepped over. People think she is not worthy of obtaining their help or attention because in their eyes she is nothing; she doesn’t worth their money, their time, and their belongings. There is an important line in the poem: “We like to take better care of our papers, file cabinets, metal desks, plastic chairs, potted plants, poster of trees in Yosemite than an od woman”. In my opinion, this line is incredibly important, and the author emphasizes things to get over people. They should love people and use things; nowadays it is very opposite. Things are being loved and people used, and I like the author mentioning it in her poem about an old woman who is trash in people’s eyes. Nobody takes the time to think about or ask her what is it she wants or needs. They just judge her without even knowing her and assume the worst. They say, “Anyone who doesn’t take care of themselves should be locked up”. And I like the fact the author mentioned the lawyers being not able to take care of themselves without their wives doing everything! Here the main idea of the poem gets clear: people who judge by skin color, race, nationality and many other things that should not be important.

The voice of the author is angry, emotional, passionate and critical. Chrystos is a Native American, and she feels a collective...
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