The Promise We Must Be

Image courtesy of Sue Vincent
https://scvincent.com/2020/07/23/thursday-photo-prompt-darkness-writephoto/

Darkness gathers upon the horizon of our land:

A land we have loved with the lives of our sons and daughters,

A land we have bled for,

A land we have built upon golden ideals,

Shining as a beacon to other nations

 

But the darkness gathers upon the horizon of our land:

For which we have done things of shame and sin,

For we have killed our sisters and brothers

Of all different colors,

For we have kept others in chains of injustice

Because we saw others as less than.

 

And now the darkness gathers in our cities,

Creeping along the horizon of our land.                                                          

 

Now. Now is the time to carry that torch

Lifted above the water of a harbor

And see its light spread across our land.

We must be the promise

For which our daughters and sons died.

Driving out the darkness,

We must all be the promise of the dream—

Liberty and justice for all.

American Dream

America, we never were a great nation.
Not with the genocide of native peoples, slave auctions
And slavery, Jim Crow, The Trail of Tears,
Japanese Internments, and the KKK.
No, we were never great.
We are always a nation of becoming.
A nation of ideals.
A nation great in flickering moments
Like old news reel footage:
When Harriet led her railroad,
When the suffragettes marched for the vote,
When Rosa would not be moved,
When Martin believed in the one day
Every child would have,
When Edie and Thea showed
Marriage should be defined by love,
Not biological gender.
We are a people of hope, of dreams,
Of knowing life would be better
When we made each other great.

Now, hate ripples from one sea
To another, and neither shines any longer
With Liberty because her torch
Grows dim with this reign of hate.
And there are many who want to forge once again
The chains to her ankles, shackling her in place,
Because they want to keep her,
But just for looks sake. Her mate, Justice, remains
On life support, having been beaten to a bloody pulp
By those who see color, who see gender,
Who see all the women who need
To be put in their place,
Who see a society where Justice serves only
The white Christian right, or rather, where Justice is made
Their slave. No, this is not a great nation.
This is not a great nation
When a leader can bully and spew hate
While the First Lady urges kids
“Be Best” in a limp campaign to not do the same
And few mention the irony.
This is not a great nation.

This is not a great nation
When a leader can urge violence
Against the media, immigrants, those who disagree
And so few carry an outcry.
This not a great nation
Where 18 trans women, 17 of them of color,
Can be murdered within less than a year
Yet our highest court must hear how
Laws do not apply to LGBTQ.
No, this is not a great nation
When so many must blame, exclude, and hate,
When so many must abase another to uplift themselves,
All the while professing Christianity.

Our founders gave us rules of law to make us better than this.
We are not a great nation
Until we realize the American Dream
Doesn’t see color or gender,
Doesn’t see race or religion,
Doesn’t see sexual identity,
Until none of us need to stand on the backs
Of others to feel better about ourselves—
Until we realize the American Dream is freedom and equality
And there is enough for all to go around,
We can not be a great nation.

But the greatness in our nation is this:
That we can be
If we recognize our humanity.

RATS INFEST

Beware us rats,
You know,
We may have been complacent
With the history of 44.
But now we will rise
With the hate spewing from 45.

We have scurried in fear
Of what this hate might inspire.
But no more.
Rats could feast on the hearts of slumlords.
Rats could floss with the sinew of fearmongers.
But we will not.
Rats have a better way to fight.

Remember, we rats are brave
Because we know the true
Meaning of red, white, and blue.
We’ve shown our bravery before,
Remember your history.
We will brave the dogs.
We will brave the hoses.
We will brave the guns.
And we know
you will send haters
in the dark to kill us too,
But we will survive to outlast you.

You see,
Rats will
Rally
Against
Tyranny.

The Brave Ones

(A Tribute to Christine Blasey Ford)

We reject the mother
Born to subservience
of ripped rib bone.
No longer will we accept
Bloody beatings and brutality,
Rape and rage,
Silent,
Powerless,
Fearful.
No longer do we accept this pain
As payment for the sin
Of seeking knowledge.

For millennia, we were lucky to live unbruised
As long as we were your possessions:
Your mothers, your daughters,
Your sisters, your wives.
As long as you owned us
And we did as we were told.

But through the ages,
The brave ones have shown us another way:
To seek the spirit of our true mother,
The one born in the same earth of equality.

So we find her voice and our own.
We speak.
Though you would silence us
With vitriol and mockery,
The brave ones have taught us well;
We will never be silent again.

Orchestra of Children

untitled

An orchestra of children
Provides a symphony.

The violin of a two-year-old
Sings the plaintive cries,
“Daddy, Daddy!”

The lone flute of a three-year-old
Soars above the din,
A painful wail,
“Mommy, Mommy.”

Then the scratchy oboe
Of perhaps a four-year-old,
Keening for an aunt to be allowed to come
And take him to her home to stay.

Next all the whimpers,
Sobbing, moans
Squalls, and laments
Of trumpets, tubas,
Violas, bass and all the rest
Join the cacophonous clamor
Of such a discordant melody,
Harmonious to the hardened of heart
Who give ear to this orchestra,
Deserving of nothing but the pain
Contained within the symphony
The progeny play,
As less than they.

Ten in Ten

Ten hurricanes in ten weeks,
Or so says CNN,
North Korea and Iran
Could be shaking hands
If it comes to WWIII
California is burning
Vegas is still hurting
Puerto Rico has little
In the way of food and water
While Trump signs yet
Another executive order
Could nearly turn an atheist
Into a person of faith
But you know what they say,
Everyone prays in the end.

Disowned 

More delicate than our dying Earth,

The fragile blood of our children dries,

Blistering in a baking sun

While we watch 

Our babies gasping 

Like hooked fish.

Our humanity broken,

We are wooden pawns 

In the game of masters,

Men who would be kings

Posturing outrage 

Over plans known

By them alone

Made in black secret rooms,

Selling us all to Mephistopheles,

Trading on the fragility of our attention 

With the lives of our children,

Who made us human. 

Nothing is left to wonder at,

But if this is the day 

Humanity made

God tearless. 

Tear Down the Curtain 

A battle won,

Time now to rise,

Rise in the streets to remind 

Of a time when 

With a banging shoe

Our damnation tolled 

As shouts and threats

Of our burial 

Brought us to the brink.

We must rise,

Rise, take to the streets,

Stand beneath the feet of great ones

They plan to topple and disgrace,

To show we see the link

Smelted and forged in gold

With the man behind the curtain.

We once caused a wall to fall.

Let our numbers now rip down 

A curtain made of gold.  

Power Rises

The Lady went dark,

feeling the decline.

The dawn trembled,

as the power of the mother raised

a sisterhood united.

 

While the capricious one

and his band of merry fools

turned tiny hands

to the magician’s tools

of distraction and deflection,

whipping their devout disciples

to a rabid, foamy hate,

ready to trample their different siblings.

 

Thus, the mother within the sisterhood

and a faction of the brotherhood

joins them to rise,

persisting in resisting

to protect a nation

for the next generation.

 

Treasonous Restoration

The once silenced sentiment

Finding voice in our modern age

Now screams in rage:

BUILD A WALL

WHITE POWER

MY PRESIDENT SAYS WE CAN KILL YOU NOW

GET OUT OF MY COUNTRY

 

And on it goes

Until an absence of color

Signifies ownership

Of Justice whose scales were sold

And tore off her blindfold,

Of Liberty whose anger more than scorched,

That book of law before that torch

She turned and hurled into the Caspian

To douse the betrayed flame.

 

Robes torn, heads covered in ashes

Justice and Liberty now sit on the ground,

Crying out:

 

With headstones overturned

And threats to Abraham’s schools,

How long before another night

Of broken glass?

 

With two now dead in Crescent City,

How long before the crosses burn

As the noose is placed round

The necks of Nubians

How long before the crosses twist,

And on them, shepherds are tied

And left in the cold to die, crucified?

 

When did the colors of our flag turn:

Red, White, and Black?