rising

a poem of the resistance

rising

history

is a door usually closed

boarded up

gone out of business

official looking papers stapled to flimsy plywood

warning of dangers that lie within

chaotic collapse of civilization

the easier way is obviously

for the status quo to stay

static

is usually the order of the day

but not today

today

a wind slams up against logic

notices normal

is now rare

and has a few things

she would like to declare

we hold these truths to be self-evident

was once all the rage

until those noble words

wore thin with age

today

LIFE

is surrounded by school shooters

she has her hands in the air

in elementary schools

in churches

in synagogues

everywhere

today

LIBERTY

stands frozen like her statue

not knowing where to start

what to fix first

what bleed is the most critical

triaging america beyond the cynical

walls built against immigrants

while we invade our own privacy

hoping that something miraculous

will put equality in our economy

just like many a thoughtful serf

once hoped that things would not get worse

today

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

is mute

invisible

questionable

like a racist traffic stop

debatable

like a living wage

as up for grabs as our uncertain health insurance

as expensive as an unforgiving student loan

today

the pursuit of happiness is not to be pursued

tune it out

a low tv playing in a distant room

a citizens memory of america

playing a haunting refrain

but the truth still remains

we were more than this

we were

pensions and benefits won in the streets

we were

an open path

a revolution against kings

a chucking of tea into the ocean of the future

we were

a civil war

and we sang

(oh how we sang)

as-he-fought-to-make-men-holy-let-us-fight-to-make-men-free

and that truth sojourned on

for awhile

we were

civil rights

a movement against war

we were

affirmative action and roe v. wade

lengthening the arms of liberty

pushing back against a tide that had drowned too many

and yet

here we are

unexceptional

but for our hate

on the shores again

washed up on an orange-haired beach

just after we’d thought

equality was within our reach

just after we’d believed

progress

was something electable

just after we’d yelled

yes we can

came mr. racist

no you can’t

we forgot

nothing good ever happens behind a curtain

we belong

in the sun

outside

in the streets

together

until we build ourselves back up

into something resembling justice

into something resembling america

history

is a door usually closed

but today

today

today it swings open

step through

dear country

step up

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