Friday, June 26, 2015

June 26th 2015—America Between Two Songs: A Poem

A joyous host assembled there

Before the solemn, solemnities of Roman Columns
Our national life on display
Lives, marriages, to be judged by the 9
            Judged, worthy
            Judged normal
            Part of the fabric of America
One of the stars on that flag.

They sang
            Oh say can you see by the dawns early light,
            What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
            Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
            O’re the ramparts were watched, were so gallantly streaming?

They sang themselves
            Into our national life

Oh say does that star-spangled banner yet wave?
            O’re the land of the free, the home of the brave.

            They sang us step-by-step forward through
Jiggery-Pokery and Real Apple Sauce and other word salad by Scalia
And decades of
            Mean spirited ballot measures
            Matthew Shepherd and Stonewall
            Harvey Milk and closet doors

They patiently sang us through step by step to their humanity and citizenship rights
They gave proof to the night that our flag was still there.

            Yet the joy was mixed with gentle sadness
Aware of other flags
            Stars and bars
Aware of the real and experienced limits of Equality
Aware of the persistence of hate.
            Be ready for the backlash!
                        Love wins,
                                    But hate does a meeeeaaaan second place.

Aware of those 9
9 bible study attendees, 6 women, 3 men—some sort of mirror to the Supreme Court.
            Still mourning those 9
            Remembering the police lights blue and red glare
            Shots fired in there

In their sanctuary
            Does the star-spangled banner yet wave?
            O’re the land of the free and the home of the brave?

O’re a land chained to our past
A land laden by
            White supremacy,
            Selective blindness,
            Cherry picked memories.

            To this, Reverend President,
Had Church today.
Went all in today.

            The President of the United States of America talked about Grace.
            The President of the United States of America Sang about Grace.
Sang us through
Through the death dealing whitecaps
Of our national life.
            Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me
He sang
            I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see

May it be so Dear LORD
May it be
Be that blindness and amnesia
The roughshod-four-wheel-drive-snow-tire-triple-diamond-trip,
Through dangers, toils, and snares
We have already come,

            Finds us on higher ground
            May we be led home.
Home to one nation, indivisible.
Home to all humans created equal.
Home to unalienable rights.
Home to life.
Home to liberty.
Home to the pursuit of happiness.

            That a home and a country should leave us no more.
Where we all shall stand
Where the Star spangled banner yet waves

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.