Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Last Cigarette 

I sometimes wondered in my youth
if I would ever find myself with my back
against a wall and a hood thrown over my head
before the call for soldiers to raise their guns,
like in the movies and books when the fascists
finally chased down those who resisted, but of course
not, this was America, we were far from all that
historic heroism—a privileged thought

but sometimes I am reminded of those late
night movies and books, because I see
us becoming our truest selves in these times:
either one who resists, one who turns a blind eye, or
one who polishes boots for Master's approval

it feels strange to think this way,
we're so comfortable in our safety
and entertainment, but those firing lines?
they still exist in nations we chide
and also in nations our leaders
claim to respect, condone, befriend
it happens, today, tomorrow...

and here, in our safety, the saddest
thought of all is that this rising Nationalism
might not be a new America, but the truest
America—finally crawling into the spotlight,
noose and rifle in hand; white, in blue,
smattered with red, chanting
and cheering for purity and prosperity
it’s what they want, it’s what they’ll get

so take care, and watch closely
because what's old becomes new again
and the things you scoff at might yet
come for you in the night
with no intention of letting you smoke
that last cigarette before they put your back
against the wall

--James Duncan

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