America is a land of hyphenated identity—
A melting pot, as it were, of cultural identity.
African-Americans and Asian-Americans, of course,
And gay-, Muslim- and Native-Americans are a force.
But Americans are also Irish, Welsh, and Scottish.
We have Germans and Swedes, but no Americans are English.
Strange, the English travelled to America to set up colonies
Take the land, kill a few million people, and do business in tea.
The English brought the Africans and many other immigrants,
But not one person, it seems, became and English-American.
Today’s Americans think the English lost the Revolutionary War;
The winners were English, too, but no one remembers that far.
So the white Americans who remain are of European descent,
But they are simply called American with no adornment.
Only if they want to declare they come from the original colonists
Will they call themselves Anglo-American with a nod and a sniff.
You sit behind your desk with all the power in the world
That can be contained by these four walls.
You can humanize the experience for whirled
Emotions or you can pretend to be master of laws
You take the latter approach, of course.
Without making me miserable, your life has no meaning
Feeling small, you mount a high horse
And squash any dignity you see gleaming
You’re perfunctory, it goes without saying,
But must you also be so sanctimonious
While you are pedantically conveying
Your need to make this acrimonious?
You have the power over me now, it’s true,
And you know I can’t answer back.
For the time being, I have to eschew
My insults, but I plan a counter attack.
When you get home, you have only the dog to kick,
But you’ve joined me with the anonymous masses
You needled me when I was in a state of near panic,
But we’re now on level ground, paying equally for our trespasses
You’re a one-person version of the Stanford Prison Experiment
And I understand. I’ve also had moments of totalitarian zeal
Our quiet desperation leads us to act to other’s detriment
A momentary, flickering power is all that we wield
When I look at you, I stare into the mirror
We share an existence with no real significance
In this brief power struggle, all becomes clearer
I’m the boulder to your vain Sisyphus
But outside the glare of white walls and white lights
I forget your eyes, your voice, and your power
My planned attack fades like a lost, loveless night
And I sink into the despair of light’s last hour
Someone has found a reason to love you, I imagine
And some fools care about me for one thing or another
This is all we have or will have, my soulless friend,
And that is just enough, or is it?, I wonder.
“We here must listen to the language for the discoveries we hope to make.” ~William Carlos Williams
It’s worth asking the question of
Whether this particular collection
Of words can even be considered
A poem. It has no discernable rhyme
Or meter, though it may give a nod
To metaphor, mixed and mangled.
Assonance and consonance remain,
Sure, but there’s nothing like a simile
To be found, and no one would
Mistake its shape for a proper Form.
It might help if it made an allusion
To a great poem from the past like
“Ode to a Grecian Urn” or something.
And the words may be personified,
Considering that they do all the work.
Some say a poem should speak some
Truth, even if it is full of lies, but what
Can anyone learn from this pile of rubbish,
Other than the difficulty of writing to a
Narrow prompt on rather short notice?
Or maybe the poem has simply taken
Cover, wary of inspection and harsh
Interrogation. The poem has adorned
A breastplate and drawn a sword.
Today no one shall come closer.
Today the poem is protection.