Where giants enshrined for all time on their thrones,
watch in mute dismay those who mock the forests
where dead men lay, who once hunted and fished beneath
these rocks, see now an emperor of little worth, confabulate,
make promises and oaths, smirk as he throws incendiary
grenades to light the forests on fire as fireworks may.
Such cruelty as can snap a black man’s neck troubles him
not, nor can he feel the grief of children stripped away
from their roots, but swoons to all his vassals’ fealty.
Surely redemption must come soon, before the bedrock
of our republic crumbles, this nation butchered into chunks
of raw emotion, and Lady Liberty falls from her pedestal.
Hardly is one murder done, then another troubles our vision,
while citizens rampage through the concrete and steel jungles
of our dominion. And circling high above, the red-capped
vultures wait for dreams the founding fathers had, to fall away;
the notion of an equal playing field, ephemeral as fog
the cynics say. Our apathy complicit every day we watch
the snake oil salesman play dice with covenants and laws
that guide our lives. Dark falls, pinwheels sizzle overhead.
Souza marches echo off canyon walls, while killer jets
like hornets tango through the clouds, swifter than wind.
A paradox, this land, home of the brave and the free, where
Sioux women and children were massacred in droves
and buried at Wounded Knee. Their heroes, Sitting Bull
and Crazy Horse knew they must defend their ancestral lands,
as we came to know this sacrifice in World War II. Imperfect men,
the presidents’ stolid gaze from their citadel pierces the night, awash
in lights. They seem vexed they were carved with dynamite,
by a sculptor who eschewed brown skin and black,
as does this rough beast on the podium, so obsessed with reflection
in the pond, he cannot see how inexorably the union suffocates
beneath his tarnish like a knee on the neck. And we, the people,
in all our incarnations, must seize this hour come round, to shine.
Darkness falls, as it has, over centuries of battlegrounds,
leaving Dakota’s sky laced with smoke.