The Poem I Can Never Write
I want to pen the “Great American Poem”
But I don’t believe I am capable of such.
There is no moment of realization for greatness
in America, as a white man,every moment is great.
America is less melting pot and more Absinthe,
Inserting cultures just turns the whole a cloudy white;
America has no need of other identities, just their labor.
And work people, we will; first, against your will
Until we convince you that freedom
Is the right to work yourself to the bone.
There was nothing great about whipping humans
Or hanging laborers because of a pale superiority complex.
There is no poetry in vile hatred, no verse
In causing pain intentionally to those we know feel it.
For this, there can be no great American poem until 1865.
But the abolition of slavery never ended suffering.
America built society and wealth on black bodies
But never rewarded them. Similarly,
Railways spawned out of the backs of Chinese immigrants;
The reward for their service was less pay, no perks,
And taxes only one foreign workers. There is no honor
In conceding worth in someone’s output but not their person.
There is no poetry in bigotry or thanklessness.
There is no great American poem until penance.
The chance for redemption began in conflict.
Belatedly taking part in two world wars,
Americans helped win what were righteous causes.
Only, to us, they weren’t righteous until we were involved.
Originally, we wanted to let Europe burn, too.
Until it threatened our interests.
Humans have never been our interests.
However, when the United States finally offered lives
Instead of taking them, our uniformed men fought valiantly.
American spirit finally found its purpose, ironically, in Europe.
In World War II we also finally found a government even we
Could feel was vile in their discrimination.
At least we let a lot of foreign laborers live, we’ll say.
The second war would have allowed the great American poem
But afterwards the country still wallowed in discrimination,
Sacrificing together did not earn the same equality as death brought.
There is no poetry in hypocrisy. There is never poetry in invasion.
There would be no opportunity for greatness until the 1960’s.
When citizens were thirsty for equality, we gave them water hoses.
America offers force where we should show compassion.
When the U.S. finally declared a belief in “us” being everyone,
It had been after over 200 years of enslavement, tactical
Separation, humiliation, and destruction by authority.
Political parties split - old dixiecrats so sickened
By having rights become civil became new Republicans.
Voters elected politicians using their plantations instead of their hearts.
Armed national guardsmen had to aim their guns at countrymen
Because Alabama couldn’t stand one black girl getting an education.
The ‘60’s offered progress but certainly not the great American poem.
America has always loved the taste of the word justice
But when it comes to pronouncing it in our laws
We have always swallowed the truth; someday
the world will not find us worth saving when we choke.
America, this quivering braggart, continues its offerings
To it’s Gods of Capitalism and Covert Intervention.
If you question why we may be left to our demise
You may ask the children of Africa we sterilized,
You may ask the populace of Central America we infected
With syphilis, the East Asians we interred or worked to death,
The South Americans who were ruled by despots we put in place.
You may ask the countries of oil in the middle east,
Whose firepower cannot reach across oceans about the cost of foreign invasion.
Ask Cubans about the Twitter-like website meant to spur disillusion
In their government. Ask detainees at black sites, at Guantanamo
About their Constitutional right to a trial. All you will get
Is silence. It is not the responsibility of victims to help their attackers understand.
I cannot write the Great American poem because this White America
Has never achieved true greatness, only the swelled pride of those afraid of the dark.
What I can do is try to write the America worth praising into existence.
I can lead America into its great poet. When a poet born into a small percentage
Of representation is allowed a voice as large as the majority,
When a minority poet believes equal opportunity, treatment, and liberty exist
That person can write the Great American Poem.