One Promise, Kept

Yes, America, we can still offer you up
a death
after all these years:
A glorious death
For all your patience and persistence,
suffering and sacrifice,
(for half your taxes, ten million airport pat-downs, a stadium full of hometown boys
Cut to shreds, and all those human stains on your nice clean boots):
Yes, we can still make good
on a promise,
Still bring home to you that sweet spectacle of
(Not your son, it’s true.) But at least
this digitized dream:
a Special Forces play-by-play,
a broadcast autopsy
To warm your red, white, blue toes by.
“In America anything is possible,
If we set our minds to it.”
Are you not impressed?
Does the site of these sublime wounds not bleed joy
Right into your skipping heart?
Does your tongue not swell with spit
and does your throat not long to gargle
on that distant mountain blood
like popped champagne?
Patriot pulses quicken, eagle spirits rising
Tugged by the dusty beard specters
Of skeletons
rattling across mountain tops.
Have faith, America,
Yes. We. Can.
Still. Kill. Man (andwomanandboyandgirl)
and keep promises, too, yes:
Maybe not those concerning education, or work,
Equality, or healthcare
Or life that means something…
But we can still deliver on corpses
And that’s not nothing,
is it?
So when you’re feeling low
(low enough even to rise)
Know this: that
We are there to buffer and to buoy you up
With bodies blown apart.
These bombs can blast the paint off the canvas
and give us a fresh start,
In the name of God,
In the shadow of new tomb-towers
blocking out the sun
And all that is sacred
Of America and
doesn’t everybody love a good show
and a party too?
to that.

Joe Ramsey is a teacher, writer, and activist residing in the Boston area. He is co-editor of Cultural Logic: an electronic journal of marxist theory and practice, as well as a board member at Socialism and Democracy, and a contributing editor to Red Wedge magazine, where this essay first appeared. He can be reached at: Read other articles by Joseph.