Saturday, March 18, 2017


the young may love without fear
dedicated to all who died fighting fascism
and to all who might

what would they think, those
lying in rest on the hill, white stones
marking their remains,
what would they think of us now
gleefully cheering an authoritarian
ego obsessed with ratings and
thrusting his fat chin high into the air?

what would they think,
those who died with bullets
shredding their guts, those who
died in fire, their flesh melting as they
screamed, those who drowned
beneath two hundred tons of sinking
steel and oil in Pacific waters,
those who exploded
in the air fighting fascism,
fighting party rule, fighting the
end of free speech and the right of
people to peaceably assemble
in their own homeland
on their own untainted soil,
what would they think?

our grandfathers and great-grandfathers
our grandmothers and great-grandmothers

 how have we devolved from the nation
that trampled fascism to the nation
that welcomed it?
how did we survive McCarthyism
only to again embrace it?
how have we allowed ourselves
to elevate a man who our
gentlemen grandfathers would
have punched in the mouth
had he ever spoken to
our grandmothers in the same
manner he has spoken of
women in public, on film, on
the radio?
and heaven help what our
grandmothers would have done to him
had he tried to force himself upon
their sassy hard-fisted selves

we, a nation always grappling with our
worst traits and habits,
always struggling with our ugly
history and cruelty, have
finally elevated our most banal
ethos to the highest seat,
we have risen to our lowest low

and what will we do now? will we
allow ourselves
to become our least selves?

will we let this
happen without a fight?

I do not ask you, reader
I do not ask these questions
to hear answers from the crowd
or from our leaders
I ask to hear from our
forefathers and foremothers    
I wait in silence for their voices
for they have seen what we now see
they have fought what we now fight
and I wait for them, I wait
in shame, I wait
but I also fight
so that
we may redeem
ourselves in their eyes
and that someday the young
may love without fear

---James Duncan

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