America the Beautiful

I’m finally beginning to come to the terms with the fact

That I live in a world where most people would rather build a wall than a bridge

That dreams are not for children

They are for men, to aid in planning the next world war

That color blindness is a myth men fall back on when their hands are too full to catch themselves

Weighed down with weapons

Stained with blood a different color than the blood they've seen before

You can tell me as much as you want that racism is a thing of the past

But the wrong place and the wrong time don’t explode like the back of a shotgun

Till the guy holding it realizes the target in view looks nothing like their son

That if you squint you can almost make him invisible against this black ink backdrop of night

You can make that smile a dog's muzzle snarl

Lips curled back in hunger

Itchy trigger finger

Trigger

 

And I guess I should've seen it coming, right?

I mean, America is a business and we run business on an image

So in a culture where the minority are rare, stares, drooling at exotics

The key to high sales is to keep your numbers low

So we pick off the ones who could never make the front cover

Tell me color has nothing to do with the business plan

That America the Beautiful is a title without a footnote or clarifying statement,

fine print to exclude certain partners at its discretion

 

I’m finally starting to accept the fact that my words are the rope that will most likely hang me

And those who read my rights and amendments will most likely also spit “traitor” in my face

Like they think I don’t know treason

But I’ve seen treason

And it often wears a smile

With eyes that burn like the headlights I’ve seen, headlines I’ve seen coming

If often says things it must later make a public scene of retracting - but only if it feels like it

Only if it affects the numbers, the ratings

It never has to hide

And sometimes, it wins elections

Places a hand on the Declaration of Independence and swears to mother America

While making handshakes behind closed doors

Signing papers that leave children with no future and no place to go

 

And it’s not just in America

But you’d think lady liberty might’ve stepped down from her pedestal to say something

Step in from her place offshore and remind her homeland why she’s there

But she stands and watches silently

 

Smiling

With rockets flying overhead

Knowing full well rockets kill

But more than that, they break

But more than that, they destroy

In class, we watch how much America the Beautiful has destroyed

While patriotic music plays

And people cheer

And they sing “We’ve won. Look what we’ve gained for our children

Skulls to drum with femur sticks

And finger bone flutes for them now

We’ll save the legs to make canes from when they’re old and accustomed to walking on graves

Watching a bloodstained sunset sky

Relying on them for each shaky step forward”

I sit at my desk and wonder how many of their bones were mixed with the water and gravel to make the walls around me

 

I’ve finally resigned to the fact that I’ll probably never know

That my pigment means somewhere on me there’s a barcode that reads “danger”

That "traitor" is a word reserved for people not under protection by any grandfather clause

That America the Beautiful has a disclaimer that no expense will be spared to maintain the “original” white standard

So tell me again, how we’ve moved past seeing color

 

This poem is about: 
My country
Our world
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 

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