Stand Your Ground, Poetry by H. Lee

Genres: Dark, Political, Philosophical, Society, Rhyme, Painful, Inspirational, Redemption.

Stand Your Ground
by H. Lee

Baseball, football, swing music, fast cars, Larry the Cable Guy,
My country tis of thee,
Tailgate pickup truck dirt road paved road rail road
sod, seed, crop, plow.
Let me tell you what America looks like.
America looks like police – not the smiling infomercial kind, but-
America looks like police, profiting off the backs like just put six bullets in,
looks like peeling back the skin
and finding the veins have run dry.
looks like snickering when you get away with it, looks like a woman
spending twenty years in prison because she couldn’t get away with having a miscarriage.
And honey, America don’t look like apple pie.
America looks like a poverty line,
one that we’re pretending won’t continue to rise and isn’t winding itself ever tighter around our necks.
America looks like lines-
looks like a nation divided;
into states divided into
towns divided into
subdivisions divided into
isn’t this not what we were supposed to do?
Divided into sides-
North or South, Blue or Red, Blue Black, White Gold,
(Spoiler Alert: the one we care about is not the one that matters)
America doesn’t look like politics, but it does look like politicians,
And I guess if you tilt your head, close your eyes enough to skew your perception,
This kind of looks fair.
America looks like underbelly, looks like kids throwing up because of standardized tests,
America looks like riot gear.
America looks like a corporation having more rights than a woman with two kids on food stamps that can’t spend more than twenty five dollars a week thanks to Congress,
America looks like-
Made in China made in Korea made in Taiwan made on a reservation-
made off a reservation and slapped with the Navajo name-
made in Africa made in Mexico made in sweatshops-
Triangle Shirtwaist-
Made in Haiti, America
Looks like profit, looks like profiteering,
America looks like a stained flag, looks like a buffalo carcass,
America looks like French Fries.
America looks like Taco Bell at 2am and still opposing immigration,
Looks like mission trips to Africa and still opposing integration,
You heard me, fifties housewives,
Twenty-ten housewives.
America looks like Ben Affleck trying to cover up the fact that his thrice-great grandfather held ledgers for slave holders,
America looks like shame.
America looks like not talking about it,
Looks like turning the other cheek and going the other way when you cross the street,
And I’ll bet some of you are angry at me for saying this.
Bet you’re hearing the word ‘traitor’ whispered into your ear, signed dear old crooked Uncle Sam.
Because we are a nation, divided
Into states into towns into sides into football teams
Into ‘playing for the other team’
And thinking that means we can’t stand on the same side.
So listen-
I am a poet, and a patriot,
And the greatest service of patriotism one can offer to one’s country is not to die for it,
But to question it.
Only I’m no longer questioning, I am demanding answers- what the fuck, America?
Maybe you don’t want to hear it, because the truth is always bitter, never sweet.
And yeah, I’m bitter,
I’ll admit it,
but now it’s time to do something about it.
America- stand your ground.

* * * * *
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