It’s two a.m.
The emergency room psychiatrist looks up from his clipboard
with eyes paid to care
and asks me if I see people who aren’t really there.
I say, “I see people…
how the hell am I supposed to know
if they’re real or not?”
He doesn’t laugh.
Neither do I.
The math’s not on my side.
Ten stitches and one lie…
I swear I wasn’t trying to die
I just wanted to see what my pulse looked like from the
Fast forward one year.
I’m standing in an auditorium behind a microphone
reading a poem to four hundred Latino high school kids
who live with the breath of the INS
crawling up their mother’s backbones
and I am frantically hiding my scars.
Cause the last thing I want these kids to know
is that I ever thought that my life was too hard.
I’ve never seen a bomb drop.
I’ve never felt hunger…
I’ve also never seen lightning strike
but we’ve all heard thunder
and it doesn’t take a genius to tell something’s burning.
The smoke rises between us
forming walls so high
they split the sky like slit wrists
and then the stars fall like blood
we’re all left with nothing but a death wish.
He said, “Call me by my true name,
I am the child in Uganda all skin and bone.”
Do you remember the rest?
How about this one…
America, Jesus wept.
But look at your eyes.
Dry as the desert sand
dusting the edges of your soldier’s wedding bands.
Look at your soul playing dead
because your ribcage is Abu Ghraib.
Is San Quintin.
Is Guantanamo Bay.
And your heart had beaten them so many times
they bleed the moon.
Do you know children in Palestine fly kites
to prove that they’re still free?
Can you imagine how that string
must feel between their fingers
as they kneel in the cinders of our missile heads.
You can count the dead by the colors in the sky.
The bough is breaking.
The cradle is falling.
Right now a six-year old girl is crutched in a ditch in Lebanon
wishing on falling bombs.
Right now our government is recording the test scores
of black and Latino 4th graders
to see how many prison beds will be needed in the year 2015.
Right now there’s a man on the street outside my door
with outstretched hands full of heartbeats no one can hear.
He has cheeks like torn sheet music
every tear a broken crescendo falling on deaf ears.
At his side there’s a girl with eyes like an anthem
that no one stands up for.
Doctor, our insanity is not that we see people who aren’t there
it’s that we ignore the ones who are.
Till we find ourselves scarred and ashamed
walking into emergency rooms at two a.m.
flooded with a pain we cannot name or explain
bleeding from the outside in.
Our skin is not impervious.
Cultures built on greed and destruction
do not pick and choose who they kill.
We all fill the graves.
Do we really believe our need for Prozac
has nothing to do with Baghdad,
with Kabul, with the Mexican border
with the thousands of US school kids
bleeding through budget cuts that will never heal
to fuel war tanks?
Thank God for denial.
Thank God we can afford the makeup
to pile upon the pretty world.
Look at all the smiling people
and the sky with a missile between her teeth
and a steeple through her heart
and not a single star left to hold her.
And the voices of a thousand broken nations saying,
“Wake me, wake me, when the American dream is over.”
— When the Bough Breaks, Andrea GibsonPosted 10 months ago with 105 notes
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