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Today’s blog is a poem from a new book I’m working on. I thought this was the right day to put it up because I cannot stand one more Memorial Day waving my handkerchief and that tired, ill-done-to flag in honor of the government’s way of cutting down America’s population by killing off all our young men and women. This one’s for you, America. Shame on you!
PUTTING IN WORK
We’re living in the belly of the beast
Watching while it takes its feast…
And dancing with Armageddon.
by Brendan MCCloud
America, you’ve turned into the Emperor of Naught;
you’re a gang member now;
you’re the gang member’s switchblade,
the switchblade’s bloody edge. You are the gang member’s flash car—
bling-blinged and bonnarooed beyond recognition.
America, your eyes are as dark as the belly of a Black Widow Spider.
You are no longer the nicest guy in town.
You’ve embedded diamonds in your teeth and
glued razor blades to the toes of your Forzieris
America, you’ve slicked your hair back
and painted your fingernails ebony.
Your turbulent seas no longer float saints.
Your deserts are alive with creeping devils.
America, you’ve got “goodbye” hanging out of your back pocket
and your people’s throats are too strep-ridden to call you out.
There won’t be any candles in the bedroom tonight, America;
wanting, taking is what you do best now: more, harder, better.
Wanting is what you do best. Your deceptions
rise and fall—dunes at the side of a beach highway.
The world has heard your rumbling. It is feeding time
in the lion house of the government.
Citizens throw raw meat into your cages, they remove
the blood of dissidents and children from your marble floors.
America, you’ve given your people an erector-set
country to live in—all skeletons and metal braces.
Your gift to your people is terror. Their bodies rage
and the music inside their heads frightens them.
Your people crave petitions, prayers, want someone punished
or honored, or rewarded or assassinated—almost anyone will do.
America, what our ancestors gave you was more naked
than the feet of a stone goddess. It began and ended with hope
and the inexhaustible processions of broken, wild things fallen onto
your roads from countless nests in countless trees across the planet.
This poem may be ended, America. I may grit my teeth
and squeeze tight my eyes. I may block my ears
and pretend to hear nothing. But know this, my country:
there is always a space in the air where destruction has been
and it is a law of physics that no space remains empty
for very long. On your knees, America! Quickly. Quickly.