Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving In America

Thanksgiving in America, 2008

Those of us who have, probably ate too much; while others stood in the cold holding signs that read "Hungry." And on Black Friday, a man was trampled to death in the crush of Wal-Mart shoppers so eager for cheap goods they didn't notice a fellow human being in distress and then refused to stop shopping even when it was discovered that he was dead. 'Tis the season, America. And boy, do we know how to usher it in with a bang!

I wrote the following poem in honor of Barack Obama's inauguration. (Yeah, sometimes I fancy myself the next Maya Angelou! Hey, a girl's gotta dream!) My mom thinks it's too negative for the occasion. But I think you've got to live with your eyes and heart open. And if you do, how can you not pick up on the negative? I might not send the poem to Obama's transition team, but I'll go ahead and post it here. Maybe I'll even figure out how to put a little comment thingy, so you can all give me your feedback.

The Language of Hope
by Eve Brown-Waite

It is a hopeful thing to reach out a hand and say, “Come.”
It is a hopeful thing to take that hand and answer, “Yes.”
Eyes reflecting eyes ahead we march.
We shall overcome
we shall not be moved
and we are unafraid though we have no idea where the road will lead us
or if it will run out before we even get there.

We walk in beautiful for spacious skies
our amber grain beckoning
our sea to shining sea rising up in waves of hallelujah
God crowning from the tops of our purple mountain majesty.
We lift our lamp beside the golden door – this way to the Promised Land.
Our doors are always open,
Open for one day only,
hurry in this offer may be revoked at any time.
So run rabbit run coyote, dog, woman, child,
Run for the roses, run for the hills, run for your life.
Run and lift your eyes up to the lord at the same time,
Lift them up to see the millions of twinkling diamonds on sale now in the inky black sky.
Follow the North Star, follow the drinking gourd and get thee to the other side.
We’re all swimming to the other side now,
And if you can’t swim, tread water.
Wade in the water, the troubled, troubled water,
Water, water everywhere, crystal proud rivers, oceans buffer, lakes soothe.
So much water, we are drunk with it,
it spills over and runs in rivulets down our glorious thighs.

Then why are we so damn thirsty?
The amber grains come back from their ghost factories and we can’t afford to eat.
How have we lost our home, our voice, our way?
Now we walk barefoot because baby needs a new pair of shoes and so does Big Brother.
Our feet are blistered and bare and we dare only tiptoe around the edges of where our shining cities used to be.
The shining city on the hill that glistened until the rain washed it away.
It is a hopeful thing to put hammer to nail, nail to board and dare to rebuild.
It is a hopeful thing to stay all over this land that was your land but never my land, America.
Hope brought us to America
And then left us like one last gasp before we drowned.
Or slowly bled out of us,
leaving gleaming, oily puddles in the fields of Iraq,
trails disappearing into the mountains of Afghanistan.
Hope had been beaten out of us, tortured out of us in the prisons of our own making.
And the blood was so thick in our eyes, we couldn’t see.

What if these songs of freedom are all we’ll ever have
because everything else was stolen?
The fields of pineapples,
The sacred lands, drenched with the blood of the ancestors,
Going once . . . going twice . . . ripped from our arms and sold into slavery,
handed over to the corporations,
paved into shrines to the living gods.

What if we laid our bodies down in saffron robes in front of the bombers
and the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air were dropped on unsuspecting villagers anyway?
Our revenge scattered like the wails of the dying, fleeing, screaming, tear-stained faces of fathers burying their sons.
We howled into that wind, we screamed, and our pleas fell on deaf ears.
If a people yell and beg and cry on the streets of Washington and no one hears them,
they do not make a sound.

So we had forgotten the language of hope.
The rhyme and poetry of it we could no longer recall.
The sounds we made were guttural and stuck in the back of our parched throats.
Until all we could do was dig in the dirt of all that had been left to us.
Backs bowed, aching and sweating, hands calloused and bruised, we dig in the dirt and plant seeds and try to remember to practice hope once again,
whisper it while we dig in the dirt.

It is a hopeful thing to plant a seed.

It is a hopeful thing to reach out a hand and say, “Come.”

It is a hopeful thing to take that hand and answer, “Yes.”

I'll Keep You Posted,

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