Monday, March 19, 2007

The New Collosus - 2007

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
~ Emma Lazarus

Give me your hungry, your tired your poor I'll piss on em
Thats what the statue of bigotry says
Your poor huddled masses, lets club em to death
And get it over with and just dump em on the boulevard
~ Lou Reed, from "Dirty Boulevard"

Oh Land of plenty and home of the free
that gave birth to pilgrims and innovators,
opening horizons to children of the blessed, like me:

Where is your mercy, your compassionate acceptance
of those huddled masses and homeless
now echoing with hushed tones of grievance?

The veneer is fading from the face of our fathers
as the rich get richer and the poor get their
tongues ripped out in the wave of profiteers and new fuhrers -

which the "greatest" generation fought to eliminate.
Where is the compassion which opened the arms of
the new colossus whose lamp no longer illuminates?

Hunger and illness litter streets once paved with gold
empty eyes and hearts filled with despair and longing
for a land of milk and honey which made them emboldened

to cross rivers and oceans, risk death and separation
only to land on cold shores with little opportunity
outside what was left behind and abandoned.

Raise your lamp high, perhaps the light will blind
those coming to these shores to look for a living wage
and conditions better than substandard , or red-lined

by industry and cheap labor. In fields and in factories
they toil for their family's well-being
picking lettuce and grapes and strawberries

thin, polished women in large SUVs shop at upscale
markets in communities manicured by the sweat
of their brows. For minimum wage they daily travail

while at night suburbanites sleep in sheets of percale
believing they've brokered the best price for labor.
Elected officials seek to assail

the tenuous hold on life immigrants have,
talk of walls and guards and jail
for those who believed what lady liberty promised as salve

for the dispossessed. This nation, sweet land of liberty,
now bought with the currency of the elite,
no room in the melting pot for a new decree.

Part 2
The children of our nation now outfitted for war
by lying politicians and corporations anxious
for stock holder accountability, greed, to the core;

of values once held in highest esteem
parlayed like collateral in a new economy
that buries all thought of the American dream.

Alone on a proscenium stage of inspection
by past allies, and those forced into
subjugation, now at war with the bedouin,

replacing one monster with another, civil
war and death to economies in the name of
oil and sweet inside contracts, wearing the laurel

wreath of failure. Young people promised higher
education in exchange for their homage to flag
and memory. In sand and death they become mired

in your new democracy ideals and citizens believe
what is expeditious today, false security and
homeland pork spending in the name of what can be achieved

in that land of sand and sun and sunni / Shiite self hatred.
Blood and red hand prints of women and children
printed on walls, like graffiti left from hennaed

sorrows. While in Cuba, subterfuge and torture
seeks to pull secrets from prisoners like thorns from feet
while denial of human rights float free of the zephyr

of news. Hide the coffins of the dead
returning home; cover them with flags that will not
wave in a vacuum of dissent and dread.

What cost our democracy to the world?
To citizens lost because of vendetta
ultimately, what flag will show unfurled

in this new world order?
In the new democracy?
In the darkness now descended upon us?


"My country 'tis of thee
sweet land of liberty
of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims' pride,
From every mountainside
Let freedom ring!"
~ Samuel Smith

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