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Howling at Whitman

Howling at Whitman

I hear America sing, one note low and hard and stiff
in rising costs that bind all of us, and the somewhat less,
as we graze, fat and stupid
fondly eating our seed children and seed corn and seen futures
always knowing the obvious season is upon us.
And the fear a solid sound on all and every thing
and death,
but not for us, never for us, no matter what
shortsighted need-ness,
chasing dragons of diseased imagination
squeezing more, for us
from whatever.
Even words farmed out to show we care,
only to show we care
only to show
only show
As we burn muscle and melt the glue for sport
and the tap, tap, tap on smoky windows,
eating unlabeled cans of food in dark movies
without images of the taste, or courage to see just what
we are putting in us and becoming.
Hey- the music of America is loud
and each of us loud
and we loudly, each of us, hiding behind others
waiting to match our voices
to find the one song to sing
the safe song, the song of us.
And not the harmony of song, but tone
the tone of our one constant vision:
proud, strong, and fearless –our lies of sound,
as we make our kids pay for the spit we use to fuck them
and shit on our mother till she coughs up more dried blood
and put men in camps to work till they die in the blindness of rage
droning one note sounds of ragged sorrow
as words become bullets, and paragraphs guns, and books bulky bombs
of justification.
On rare nights, as rare as Northern Lights,
I hear America singing from words of written reason
adding melody and humanity
the sound of our redemption
the sound our song speaks to
our marketplace of song,
all voices singing to forgive the harshness of words
all different songs sung together because,
the one song sung together
is no song at all
just the long and painful scream
of the dying as they wait huddled
for the fall.

Mike Brady
Dec. 2004/revised July 2008


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