Long stemmed grass stuck between my teeth
shock of black hair blowing in a summer breeze
I lost count of puffy clouds slow motion journey
across my panoramic view of childhood.
I guess life awoke my sleeping innocence
eighteen and America counted on me
to kill protect uphold words written
before my naiveté before I could shoot a gun.
Dark spots growing across this wrinkled skin
tell a story repeated in so many volumes
so many stories lost on hills valleys jungles
headless soldiers burned like a Sunday barbecue.
Did Uncle Harry Grandpa Seth daddy Johnny
come marching home again hoorah hoorah
did anyone wave their bloody legless bodies
in the air and scream “I’m buying.”
America’s stories are written in blood
hot rivets and soured sweat let’s kill those reds
yellows blacks browns and baby eggs
let’s kill mothers collateral relevance is all.
Peace is reading a newspaper want ad
grandkids suckling in the parlor
growing gun hands and running feet
they too will learn too soon, too soon
So what’s your plan little child soldier
go to college learn you are useless learn
Thomas Jefferson loved black women
his genius mind is lost forever in ignorance.
Learn that God is only you inside a Santa suit
learn your parents were wrong about freeways
cause nothing is free especially not your way
money pays for the paper George and John wrote upon.
This is my America you don’t like, you shun
like dumpster diving rat lovers
cardboard mangers sitting on steam grates
back alleys backwashes backstabbing.
Grab your last pay check and scream hoorah
parade your colors of black and blue
life is not mine to keep or yours to take.
Salute this brass bell America shoot my head off hoorah.