I’m having trouble breathing nights since the
morning my America died all too silently
in her sleep.
The coroner said it was an excess of
white blood cells, which are supposed to heal scars,
not multiply them.
But in my America, when you stitch one wound closed,
another opens in the most
Instagram-able parts of her body –– those tagged by
east- and west-coasters who have the luxury of
weekend getaways, #friendsgiving, or collecting
obscure albums of 1950s and ‘60s jazz
virtuosos on vinyl despite never growing up in
the Black Circle Era and/or not owning a turntable.
My America? She didn’t even know she had
unmade her death bed earlier that evening.
Midnight fetes folded into hung-over marches by
the dawn’s earliest light.
The bluest of red blood cells proudly protested
after any chance to have another say about what
happened the night before.
(Funny how red blood cells aren’t ever blue;
it’s only a trick of the light makes them seem so.)
All the while the real culprits are all those
without a voice, who slept idly by,
coercing with the devils that drove their angels
off the precipice of their leftmost shoulders
by not speaking a single word on the
day before that night fell.
Those who never reached for a poll.
Those who let America breathe her final breath.
And what do we do? No, what do we do?
The blameless, faultless blues singers of a red state
of gracelessness stampeding to the protest lines
full of broad-striped blame and fifty regrets –– the same
weapons the good ol’ party used to sacked all three
houses and the puppet-seat of power.
What can we do? A cancer twilights the last reservoirs
of Truth, Justice, and her (N)everlasting Way; where
one day what happened to the Charleston Nine
won’t be considered a crime; where
taking two steps forward means falling four steps back
into white-hooded shrouds.
What do we do? What do I do, when thoughts like these
waterboard my dreams despite my trying to keep
myself out of the emergency room?
And what will you do? Night after night sleeping soundly
in a bed watched over by Charlton Heston, an
Alpha Omega Man leading a land of apes whitewashed
of their ignorance and identities, with all others
bleached clean of all responsibility?
This is why I sleep with a Rambo knife in my night table
drawer, close by, in case I need it to
save myself from those who would save me first.
Every Monday, GJC will be sharing a poem from John T. Trigonis, a local JC Heights resident, poet, writer, and coffee aficionado. in our Monday Musings.