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Democracy (September 2001)

[I wrote this poem 3 days after the 9-11 attacks that have come to define my life since.]

It will never again
be the way it once was,
back before
the bad things started to happen,

relative innocents
dying en masse
no one currently
understanding the cause.

In Vietnam our people
died in great numbers
thrown into the swirling
razor blades of a fan

blood and gore spilled
by the strokes of pens held
in the rich, fat fingers
of well-to-do white men,

and we took to the streets
to make our will known
to wrest our trust back
from those who abused it.

And today, once again,
we reap what they sow,
generations of tyrannical
insidious world domination

achieved with the bullets
or trade, dollars, and cents,
the espionage
of cultural co-optation,

the best foreign minds
drawn to the imperial center
pilfering the hope
of  potential future resistance,

and we’ve allowed it
to happen,
our mandate miswielded,
and whereas before,

it was us, apathetic,
made complacent
by electronic baubles and gadgets,
disinterested in what we worked abroad,

we now feel the pain
that we have inflicted on others,
hiding behind our veneer, propaganda,
or prosperity, peace,

and poverty.
The luxury of remaining lax has lapsed.
We must change our paradigm
or be swept into the dumpster

behind the house
in which history lives.
It stands
for liberty and justice for all.

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