Freedom Day (A Poem)

Jack Ramey, Associate Professor of English at Indiana University Southeast, was kind enough to share a poem he wrote yesterday morning:

We hold these truths to be self-evident:
all white men who own property are created equal—
this of course excludes black people and Indian people
and women and poor white whiskey tangos who have no pot to piss in.

Nonetheless, it is a beautiful morning this morning
when all Americans are freed from work
(except those who work at Walmart and McDonald’s and Burger King
and Pizza Hut and Kroger and Safeway and Piggly Wiggly)
freed to pursue barbeque picnics by the lake and drunken relatives
and loud firework displays that proclaim with colored gunpowder our freedom.

Oh say can you see? Those rockets bursting over your villages
for the past ten years in Iraq and Afghanistan,
the cluster bombs and napalm exploding in jungles
forty years ago in Vietnam, just look at the beautiful tracers
shooting out from the sides of ironic helicopters
bearing the name of those we have subdued—Apache!

Geronimo! shouted those paratroopers who leaped out of planes
on D-Day two years or so before I was born
into this land of freedom and gory.

The list of those we have invaded to protect our freedom
is too long to tell: hello Philippine Islands, hello Nicaragua, Guatemala,
Grenada, Tunisia, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia,
Japan (and all the islands she laid claim to) Germany, Italy, Mexico,
the Korean Peninsula, the Five Nations, the Creek Nations,
the Cherokee Nation, the Chickasaw Nation, the Shawnee Nation,
the Sioux Nations, the Comanche Nations, the Yuma, the Pomo,
the Ute, the Cheyenne, Blackfoot, Crow, the Mandan, the Sauk and Fox,
the Navajo, the Hopi, Apache, Pueblo, all those half naked starving savages
we small-poxed and grape-shot out of existence
and gave the remaining few their freedom on reservations
in Oklahoma where the wind comes whippin’ cross the plains,
freedom to be Americans just like you and me.


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