America the Brave,
did you ever look beyond the porch, and see the smoke?
I have felt each gunshot wound and bookmarked each media news story
and even catalogued some photographs
for you to look over again.
because it seems you have a strange habit of forgetting
all the times
where places that children should be learning and laughing
began to look like cemeteries, the doors closing like a cruel purgatory,
when another damn maniac rages in with a legal firearm –
“mommy, I’m okay, but all my friends are dead.”
red crayons will never look the same—
I’ve found that bleach does not clean out
the stains on the carpet and words alone do not console the masses.
America the Free,
have you heard the terrifying orchestra of screeching tires on pavement?
didn’t you learn that running away is the same as running to meet a date with the reaper?
America, please tell me why
I cannot look for safety in a blue uniform, tell me why
the word “police” inspires more fear and pain
than it stands for justice?
there, in the empty streets, are the echoes of the voices in the night that you failed to hear when the sound of
sirens drowned the world in shades of wrong--
“I can’t breathe.”
“I don’t have a gun, stop shooting.”
“please don’t let me die.”
I stand at the gates between crossroads but nobody looks each other
even if there’s the unspoken truth
that some of us are more likely to be studying obituaries than studying to
be finishing our high school and college degrees.
America the Bold,
please listen when I tell you that there is a pain you cannot hide
beneath IPhones and reality television,
when all I see is hallowed eyes,
empty hands, and
more parents that shouldn’t have to know
what it’s like to buy caskets in mass production, before they even knew how to read, before they could sing praises of your liberty, before they even had a chance to pray for a different fate, one they actually deserved.
America the Beautiful,
for all your Spacious skies, and amber waves…
have you looked at the ugliness of your bloody palms?