They gave us democracy,
But took our freedom.
We had the right to vote,
But it didn’t matter.
We had the right to refuse to sing
“The Star-Spangled Banner”—
But not if we valued our lives.

We could chant, “Not in my name,”
But they took our names away.
We could work hard,
But they taxed us into the ground.
We could march against War,
But they sent us to War
And taught our children to kill
Someone else’s children.

We could play music—
So long as it was approved
By industry professionals
who knew what we really wanted.
We could watch their movies and their television
But it was always a formula:
Somebody getting hurt
And taking revenge:
The lone gunman—crazed, or justified;
Or comedies that weren’t funny;
Adolescent humor; adolescent fantasies.

They gave us burgers to eat for a dollar.
But everything tasted like cardboard.
They made sex a game
Instead of communion.
Their ministers were pedophiles;
Their teachers, test-givers;
Their doctors, pill-pimping chart-readers.

They taught us to hate terrorists
Then bombed a million civilians.
They didn’t bother to count the dead
Or missing limbs or eyeballs.
They assured us everything they did
Was for our own protection.
If only we would try harder,
We, too, could be like them.

We could live in Trump’s Tower.
We could shed a tear with Oprah.
We could laugh with Paris
Or dance with Britney
(or stumble through—it didn’t matter).

There was no image of happiness they held up
That didn’t involve hurting someone else.
It was happiness
Based on others’ suffering.
Winners and losers.
They taught us that only a few could win
And they kept bolting the doors.

They thought they were Lords of Chaos.
They thought they could ride the Whirlwind.
But the honeybees died
And the frogs stopped croaking.
The glaciers melted.
The savannahs burned.

Under the vaults of their houses
The plague entered, like a whisper.
It seeped through underground tunnels,
Taking their first-born.
Tumbrils rumbled in alleys.
Night fell—full of assassins.

And the burning sun scorched all.
And the turbulent waters washed away
The blood of the lamb.
Earth turned in its orbit.
New days dawned.

Poet-playwright-journalist-fictionist-editor-professor, Dr. Gary Corseri has published work in Dissident Voice, The New York Times, Village Voice, CommonDreams and hundreds of other publications and websites worldwide. His dramas have been produced on PBS-Atlanta, and he has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library. Gary can be reached at Read other articles by Gary.

5 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. pj of hawaii said on September 22nd, 2007 at 8:28am #

    i have an msn group… “the voice of reason”

    i wondered if it would be possible to re-print your poem that more might enjoy.


  2. gerald spezio said on September 22nd, 2007 at 12:55pm #

    The bad guys and girls ( the ones with the terrible ethics) have poetry, peeyar, real jails, almost all the weapons, and assassins, too.
    So far the so-called revolution, call it Margaret’s really revolting thoughts, is winning hands down.

  3. gerald spezio said on September 22nd, 2007 at 1:04pm #

    I don’t think that I can file my post under revolution or poetry.

    Temporarily, I’ll file it under either typing, jails, or Rosa Luxemburg.

  4. gerald spezio said on September 22nd, 2007 at 2:37pm #

    What a freakin revolution, Man.

    The mericun military is murdering Iraqis by the tens of thousands. Women and bewildered children are revolutionized, carbonized, and a collateral problem, as in business. New thought, but no water. Shock Chicago ethics, but no food.

    The mericuns are suffering from excruciating mental illness and will get
    therapy very soon. Ditto for their worn out working class dogfaces and gyrenes on the fascist dole. Too much stress – pre and post.

    The untermenschen Palestinians are starving and dying while caged in a neo Nazi concentration camp. The worst concentration camp is Gaza, as in Bergen-Belsen or Auschwitz

    Milton Freidman, Margaret Thatcher, and Joe Lieberman sitteth at the right hand of Abraham.

    The Zionists are gleefully wailing for more blood, at several Walls and Wall Street is only one of them.

    Yabut, these Ivy League murdering yuppie scumbags will get their comeupance from God when the really big revolution comes any day now, Man. You know.

  5. Donald Hawkins said on September 23rd, 2007 at 5:46am #

    Just read your revolution good one. In Washington, I think October 21th they are going to have a stop the war and stop the warming. I hope it goes well, as from what I understand this administration has a manual on how to minimize this sort of thing. Gary a few years back, I was in Tallahassee, Florida selling a T-shirt that said a ballot in the hand is better than two in the Bush. That of course was the finale count for the Bush Gore election. Well, I made the New York Times. Anyway when I was there I noted one thing. Here we were the left I guess I was standing next to Darth Vader and I could see a man on crutches just regular people dressed in old clothes then the buses came. Well out came the other side with bull horns dressed in polo shirts and began to yell stop the vote. Then the lawyers came as the word was out that the vote had stopped for the last time. These lawyers didn’t look real 1000 dollar suits perfectly combed hair. Anyway for this administration to have a hand book on how to minimize the effects of demonstrations is just normal.