Walking the Hoboken waterfront to hold off
the doldrums lurking behind each lonely day
I search the eyes of my neighbors
frightened, hopeful, distracted.
We can’t continue to feel like victims of each other
a death spiral of empty choices offered
in this zero-sum game of Russian Roulette.
Shots are fired from behind a door as the white
walkers swarm through the hallway.
Having breached the gates, they arrive
enraged ready to chew up all that lies inside.
Like a serpent eating its tail we go round in circles
chasing lie after lie, debunking alternative facts.
America has suffered a collective failure of imagination
allowing ourselves to be driven to the abyss
and must move past preventive strategies
into the punishment phase of restoring democracy.
A tentacled specter has been unleashed
infecting our aspirations for a better union
with the dizzying swirl of apocalyptic ruin.
A disgraced president’s cult of death
cannot become a way of life.
We’ve been held hostage by the unholy forces
of doom whose malignant shadows are worse
than we feared when we feared the worst.
Racism is our original sin and a reckoning is due.
Let us atone for our transgressions through admission,
action, penance, and maybe salvation.
Two years ago, we wondered if we were living through
the equivalent of 1933, but now we know we’re in 1938
and Kristallnacht just happened again.
Our parents and grandparents were the original
Antifa and we celebrate their bravery and sacrifice.
We have allowed pretenders to wrap themselves in the worn
flag of patriotism without a counter narrative of our own.
It has fallen on us to oversee the denazification
of the American military and police.
Though technology allows interconnectedness
we have built walls physical and metaphysical
holding us trapped in a state of perpetual stasis
cut off from each other and the rest of the world.
Social media has shamed us into impotence,
keyboard warriors helplessly posting sad and angry
dispatches from our ravenous screens.
We, and let me be clear, we on the Left
need to be less rigid, more agile
than we have ever been before.
We have sat by as the Right has amassed arms
for years and we have every reason to be frightened
but courage happens when we are afraid yet still carry on.
The mythologies we have comforted
ourselves with have been revealed,
stories to keep us still:
Justice is blind,
In God we trust
Work will set you free
All you need is love.
One side speaks of paranoid conspiracies
unleashed by tweet from a deranged head of state,
while the other side speaks to itself in codified
language nobody else can, or wants to understand.
The problem is no one else wants to live in the nation
we imagine, while at the same time nobody
wants to imagine the country in which we live.
Though our past looms vulture-like awaiting
the final spark of animation to flicker and fade
we have to look forward, to rebuild
our infrastructure and collective soul.
Though the hounds of hell are yapping at our heals
God give us the strength to take the mind leap
to live again, beginning with integrated streets,
live music, a green new deal, and poetry from the heart.
Let’s live for the day we can dance maskless and free
Let us begin again.