a.d. winans | america

Painting by Tina Cross


Drummed out
of the infantry of death
I came back to you carrying
the poems of my soul
opened the door of life
and found only death inside

I have read the State
of the Union
and listened to the state
of the economy
in a state of hysteria

where the poor and the black
are sentenced to Attica
and the rich serve time
at San Clemente

where coalminers lungs
are used for corporate profit where the only sound
that can be heard
is the opening and closing
of the downtown
Bank of America

where the angry voices
of suburban mothers
can be heard preparing
their children for death
amidst the hurried jerks
of masturbation coming
from the university closets

where blank faces move
like a pendulum
in a grandfather clock
pointing in the direction
of the once proud hobo
now auditioning for a spot
on the next reality show

where the elderly
are treated like
railway boxcars
kept idle unemployed
forced to walk the streets
like an unacceptable poem

where the politicians sold
the country to General Motors
and A T and T
and gave the people
buffalo stew Tom Cruise
and Scientology
Reader’s Digest has renewed
its option
on the educational system
the mafia weans the poor
on drugs while IBM
and Coca Cola compete
for the nation’s heart
as cancer and cardiac arrest
ride high on the charts
followed by Dow chemical
and DDT
a hard combination to beat

this is not your land
it was never your land
it belonged
to the American Indian
long before you raped
and plundered her
and moved on to Mexico
for your next conquest
and the Indian
never a greedy landlord
was willing to share it
but raised on the credo
of winner take all
you set out to kill them
tribe by tribe
first slaughtering the buffalo
then the proud warriors
with rifles Gatling guns
and broken treaties
and when that failed
you killed them
with alcohol starvation
missionaries tuberculosis
religion measles small pox
and western civilization
leaving behind
your death mask
at Wounded Knee
and Salt Creek
where you massacred them
in large numbers
as you would later do
with Asians with napalm
bombs in Vietnam

you chased Geronimo
into Mexico
Desecrated the bodies
of women and children
leaving behind a trail
of genocide
killing tribe by tribe
these proud warriors
who wanted nothing more
than to live in harmony
with the land

where capitalism farms out
jobs to cheap foreign labor
no longer having a need
for the American work force
bleeding dry the productivity
of under developed nations
America where
1% owns the wealth
and the 99% are left
to fend on their own
America where
20% of the population
of the richest country
in the world
lives in poverty
where old men and women
who worked hard
all their lives
for the right to a pension
find themselves laid off
given two weeks severance pay
made to seek a living
at half their former pay
men and women
who have worked all their lives
only to witness the company
go belly-up and find
there is no pension left
for them
you can find them anywhere
on park benches
wandering super markets
or sitting at bars
nursing their drinks
like a blood transfusion
while our Congress men
and women dine in splendor
at restaurants with fancy white linen tablecloths
with waiters who make
more money in tips
than the minimum wage
they toil for

these are your people too
yet you treat them worse
than animals at the zoo
Like life savers
they come in different flavors
some thin and balding
some fat and sweating
some complaining bitterly
some too proud
to let the pain show
these forgotten heroes
from ordinary walks of life
trapped by false promises
trapped by a belief
in a system
that has failed them
men and women
who suffer in silence
who die unnoticed
to be carted off
in a meat wagon
to be cut open by a coroner
who sees them
as morning cereal
it’s the way of life
it’s the way of capitalism
it’s the way
of cockroaches and mice
it’s the American way
it’s the system
where just staying alive
is a small victory

whose answer to crime
is more prisons
filled with more men
and women of color
lost souls who cannot
make it on minimum wage
or no wage at all
America where
bankers looted the land
made millions at the expense
of the working class
foreclosed on their homes
with a cold calculating
precision that would make
a bank robber blush
with shame

where the CIA engages
in illegal and immoral acts
where the President
signs death warrants
in the disguise of drones

where labor unions
are systematically destroyed
where womens rights
are trampled on
where the Supreme Court
has been taken over
by politicians dressed
in black robes

where God has become
a billion dollar TV industry
where gangster rap
has replaced
the national anthem

where the Nark’s
of New York City
spawned from a generation
of gangsters
grows fat on the fears
of faceless junkies

where holiness is found
in the bowels of Buddha
where Christ died on the cross
and the police were quick
to take his place

I listened to your
bi-centennial message
drip blood like
a butcher’s apron
heard the drums salute
the ghost of Custer
call her children to muster
the magic Ohm of Ginsberg
buried deep in the bowels
of greedy billionaires
who don’t know the difference between a poem and a dollar
the American way
if you can’t kill them
buy them into the system

the years grow heavy
in the cavity of my heart
left feeling like
an army mule carrying
a cargo of death
each year sweetened
with my thinning blood

who lied to get us into
an unnecessary war
the day the music
of the Reich land played
and thoughts of the Fuhrer
rode high in the heads
of the Pentagon masters
the day the Bismarck
was replayed in the sea
of the Persian Gulf
and power once again
became something more
than a Detroit made machine

you live on borrowed time
there will come a day
when your troops are sent
to guard the doors
of our cities in the interest
of corporate welfare
afraid the walls
will come tumbling down
as some day they must
here in America where
the rich eat the flesh
of the poor like
frenzied cannibals dining
at Burger King
America where
the cold face of ownership
preens her face
around each corner
ignores the streets filled
with the homeless
the landlords duly protected
by laws of office and power
here in America
where money and real estate
are the rule of the land
where the power of the few
laugh at the powerless
where the unemployed
are pitted against
the educated hucksters chauffeured in death
black limousines

there will come a day
when the populace will dance
in the streets
and the people will have cause
to celebrate once again
for even the dullest
of politicians knows
the reign of the lions
ends with age

there will come a day
when the people will shed
the skin of their masters
their restless tongues
no long panting like
tired dogs

you are the only country
I have known
and I have no desire
for Cuba or Russia
but I’m a man
I’m a poet
I’m the energy running
through your veins
all too aware of the
storm troopers of justice
who would turn off
the beauty
like a rusted faucet
these men in blue
who sniff the blood
of my wounds
like a hound dog
crosing a river of blood
their sirens wailing
in the night
playing sad tunes
outside my window
like a poet forced
to read under water
where twice dead
and once resurrected
he turns over in his grave
but the finger he raises
is jammed down
his throat
until the shit he shits
is theirs
and the blood they bleed
is his
and the cries united
fill the air like
a lonely bird lost
in flight

0 Replies to “a.d. winans | america”

  1. Lily, if you think you are breathing cleaner air, you’re deluded. I can love living here while pointing out that which we should not take pride in. Those who pose as patriots always tell dissenters to leave the country. Is it moral to want to cut 40 billion in foodstamps for the poor so the rich oil companies can keep their subsidies? I can go on and on,and on, but if there is one fault in the poem its that it is too long. So I’ll end it here and leave you to breathe in that “clean” air.

  2. If you loved living here then I’m sure you could have found some positive things to say about this country. Things that compel thousands from other countries to wait years to become legal citizens. Things that drive thousands over the borders illegally to get away from the oppression their countries make them live under. Things like, oh, I don’t know, how about the freedom to write hateful and ugly things about your country while some poor kid is being slaughtered so you can write hateful and ugly things without a knock at your door in the early hours and perhaps you disappear from your comfortable home. Yes, we have problems, but if you think this is a horrible place to live, fine. If you want to write about it, that’s your choice. But to write an ugly, very long drivel about this country without some sort of balance only shows your spirit of anger, rejection and whatever else your damaged emotions have incurred to drive you to influence others in hating this country also. Tell it to the thousands this country has helped put their lives back together after a hurricane or flood or tsunami. Go stand beside the leaders of all the other countries that accept our billions with one hand and then murder our citizens with the other. And while your there, tell them how hateful and ugly their country is because after all, you are an American citizen and have the right to speak freely. And see if you make it back to the country you feel the need to post every negative thought that rules your spirit.

  3. I served in the militry. I worked in civil rights investigating discrimination against women, minorities, and the disabled. I dare say I have done more for the people in this country than you who do nothing but make pious ignorant remarks. I don’t need lecturing from someone like you. Poor people were slaughtered in wars like Iraq becuase right wingers like you lied to get us into a war that we had no need or right to go into. I’ve also donated as have many, many others to victims of hurricanes and other disaster. Take you talk to right wing radio who will appreciate your rantings. Please refrain from futher commentary unless you have so little of a life you have to spend your time seeking attention.

  4. You do not know me and I don’t need to list the things I have done to help others. And so also did many of my family members and loved ones serve in the military and some gave their lives. I very seldom offer a remark on a website but your rant is so offensive, I felt it would be wrong not to. Whatever good you claim to have done for your country, you’ve chosen to dishonor your service by your vile, ugly rant. I’m not blind to the problems we have, but I guess it’s easier to lump everyone who disagrees with your “poem” as a right winger. Now that took some deep thinking. If you find it easier to attack the country that shelters you, rather than rise above circumstance and injustice so be it. Someone loved this country enough to die to give you that right. If you don’t want comments submitted, remove the link. That way I can get a life, won’t attract your verbal abuse and you can write another soulless dirge in the hope that no one pays attention. And your right, you don’t need my lectures. What you need only God can give you. No more comments from me.

  5. Who is this angry woman? I have read the poem twice and all I see is true facts laid out in the poem. Ms. Lily seems like a very angry woman who can’t accept reality. And invoking God makes me think she must be aligned with the American Tea Party.

  6. So you can spit out a hateful dirge about this country and call it a poem about injustice. But if I try to point out that there’s more than one side to your particular point of view, that makes me an angry person. If you can write your nonsense about what you call artistic culture that involves a generation of people sleeping around with anyone and anything, getting stoned, drunk, diseased and basically living off the government because having a job didn’t fit into your lifestyle, that’s ok. But if I mention the name of God, whom we will all answer to and stand before someday and give account of how we lived our lives, then that’s unacceptable. You don’t want comments that disagree with your point of view and yet you claim to have such an open mind toward injustice and what this country stands for. I think your comments speak for themselves. If you want reality, your time will come.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.