Tuesday, August 25, 2015

(n) a song, as of praise, devotion, or patriotism; a piece of sacred music

It makes sense our anthem is about a battle
ringing with the birth pangs of a nation

Especially since the first six years
of my son's life he sang it ---

Jose' can you see

And I wonder if he can,
or if he fears the storm troopers might bust in
and question his immigration


Is there ever a point we out-grow our anthem,
like clothes that no longer fit, in our gluttonous adolescence
become too tight,
                            or no longer express
our ideals?

What was lost in cutting off the last 3 stanzas,
                PLAY BALL!

When was the last time you heard it
outside a sporting event?
                                          Why is that?
Does it not have a context
outside of conquest?

Is this the land of the free & home of the brave,
or the cow-ed & complacent,
hidden behind the rockets red glare
as it detonates civilians
in the vicinity of suspected terrorists

& the ramparts we've built
around the houses of our politicians
with our taxes

How many backs have born the weight
of our anthem
                                     "when the cause is just"
                                     "then conquest we must"
                                      "in god we trust"

How much blood does it take to purchase
a grace of such a sweet salvation?

As much as the oil we ingest?

what glory.
what glory.

veiled as Moses,
to blind us from its diminishing.

"Their blood has washed
out their footprints

Our veins are black.
Pipelines, where freedom rings
with each hammerfall,
                                     putting them in place

to protect
our pursuit   of happiness,

at the expense
of what our children believe,
each morning as they pledge allegiance
to something
                      we can no longer articulate
                       the meaning of ---

Is this our sacred song? our anthem?

Jose' can you see?


  1. Allegiance is a highly suspect thing in my mind. Are you an ally because of what i can do for you or what you eventually do to me? My allegiances are not expressed in cloth or songs, I do not sew or compose I wax poetic about what a bunch of shit we can be, not as Americans but as humans. I pledge allegiance to that...we are becoming an ignorant genus of animals.

    1. I think we can be great as well. I will relate it to community as well. Communities gathering under a banner always seem to fall short to me --- community is an individual thing built person to person / not because we all believe the same thing / because that is still open to our own interpretations and worldviews. At first, we must be human.

  2. Your political pieces are always so powerful X wow! Some very deep questions posed in this "Do we ever outgrow our anthem?" How far are we from the ideals proposed in the constitution? Are we really free at all? To that I say no freedom is the biggest lie. Church and state are far far far from seperate. The rich just get richer.


  3. I thought these lines nailed it: we out-grow our anthem,
    like clothes that no longer fit, in our glutonous adolescence
    become too tight, or no longer express
    our ideals?

    And there is ever the clashing of ideas specially of business from here:
    Our veins are black.
    Renamed pipelines, where freedom rings

    Unique title and deep searing questions X ~

  4. Our national anthems are like hymns, extolling our selves and our countries. Usually very beautiful and idyllic. What we wish is/was true. I think they are written, sung, played to draw the individuals of each nation together into a cohesive whole and to instill pride in one's country. In an ideal world.

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  6. I have often wondered why I mistrust the messages within our national anthems...and now I think I'm finally beginning to see.
    The fabulous ideals they contain are just too good to be true...and most of us aren't quite strong enough to live up to them.
    And then, of course, there is the ever-present human fear of failure!

    Ha...I still consider myself an idealist though...hypocrite that I am!! ;)

  7. the black veins... i think that was what struck me most... the greed of a nation and how it is interpreted... it's the same everywhere - i think there was a time when people meant it - i can still feel it swinging in the music of the verse - so many heartbeats but it def. has to be filled with meaning again and again

  8. Oh how these words outgrow reality, when battles seem to exist just to protect our own complacency, to raise barriers, excluding. In the wrong mouths an anthem is dangerous. Maybe the sporting event is where it belongs.

  9. You are asking some deep questions in your poems these days, and there has never been a better time to ask them. I LOVE that your son sang "Jose, can you see". I think that is an improvement! Sobering lines about the rockets detonating civilians.

  10. A terrific take on the prompt; presumptuous as I am, I felt our two poems were bookends, working the anthem lines, jumping the sports shark, finding fun--yet
    profoundly conflicting dissonance as the words lead to fracking, oil barons, middle eastern crusades (don't get me started), and hell yes, your /black veins/ line pumps up rancor & angst. I like the lines /does it have a context/outside of conquest?/.

  11. I love the questions you ask in this poem and your son's interpretation of the first line might be the all important question for Americans to be asking!

  12. We must become bigger than we have been: more courageous, greater in spirit, larger in outlook. We must become members of a new race, overcoming petty prejudice, owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations but to our fellow men within the human community.
    ~Haile Selassie

    Your poetic piece here is outstanding! and powerful in its whole message.
    gosh! You are such a phenomenal poet.

    P.S I posted a new poem yesterday, and I think you're going to love it! and trip out on the new words I created. You'll see its 3 words that I came up with.


  13. I really liked how you were able to poke fun at us but make your point too. I only squirmed a little. Good stuff.

  14. I knew you would take this prompt to new heights, that you would challenge us to rise above our complacency. I guess for bravery, I look to those three guys who took down the terrorist (train robber? I don't think so) in Europe this week. I loved this little observation:

    & the ramparts we've built
    around the houses of our politicians
    with our taxes

  15. I don't like it; I think you sound like a lunatic. You should probably take up knitting and beach volleyball instead.

    1. I am personally not a fan of this one either,
      it feels more a rant than poetry - not that poetry
      cant rant but --

      I tried knitting a beach volleyball once,
      but it would not hold air, thought I was doing it wrong,
      so I tried to play beach volleyball with knitting needles,
      needless to say that did not go so well

      So I came back to poetry, where you can put any words
      you want together - and someone will call it art.


    2. I am internally laughing quite loudly over the knitted v-ball not holding hair. But people are sleeping, and I'm having a hard time staying quiet ... as always. ;)

      I can crochet a little bit. And I'm killer fun to watch at v-ball. I'm the clumsiest chica ever to touch a ball, which is pretty entertaining to watch. But man, I have some fun. I keep waiting for someone to look at me, being an idiot, and call me art. But it's yet to happen. I'll keep waiting, though. Ooh, that reminds me of a movie. Wouldn't you know it? I'll go hunt down the trailer for you ... you know where it'll be.

  16. How many backs have born the weight of our anthem... and how many continue to! Love how you've written this poem. Marked it for a reread!

  17. Oh truth! That's what an anthem should be about. And you could write it. Love how you delineate what is no longer sacred or real in our nation's song. Love the passion and truth in this. Great write!

  18. LOL oh the things you think of, laugh but I'm French, so it took me a while to know that the words were Oh Say Can you See.....too good, too funny

  19. but hey X i love the old Russian Anthem

  20. It is all very confusing. Difficult--but you know people have to educate themselves and pay attention--and vote and be civic somehow in their own lives--not so easy for sure--but I don't know any alternative. Thanks. k

  21. Yes, "the ramparts we've built around the houses of our politicians with our taxes"...feels like taxation without representation all over again. I'm glad for the Joses that see there's something worth coming here for!

  22. "Our veins are black.
    Pipelines, where freedom rings
    with each hammerfall"....you've hit the modern Machiavellis at the right point...

  23. One of my favorite meme's here
    in the last few days is
    'Secrets in plain
    Sight'.. and
    when freedom
    becomes a
    secret with
    no real
    ALL is lost

  24. You have brought up a lot of topics in regard to the National Anthem. One thing I do wonder is why it is only played at sporting events. I don't hold quite as pessimistic a view as you present in this poem. Sure, there are flaws; and if we concentrate on them, they are what we see. Not sure what the answer is...but....

  25. Indeed...can a nation outgrow its anthem...and how many wars would be fought is someone dared suggest changing it?

  26. Clever, deep, and cuts to the bone of discontentment with sentiments that ring true in many hearts these days. I think this is a fine poem, X

  27. As you will know, having looked at mine, I have a lot of fellow-feeling for these sentiments. And it's interesting to see we have tried to do similar things in some similar ways. I think you have done it brilliantly.

  28. I always thought that "God Bless America" would have been a better choice, something that celebrates the country itself, not "war." And yet I must admit, when I hear our anthem, my heart still swells. For I know what this country meant to my grandparents, both sides, who immigrated from Poland and Italy pre WWII. And despite our faults, people still want to come here. But there is the problem—that we do have faults. There is no cohesiveness in politics, or in most anything these days, only blame to pass around. Perhaps if we all started standing tall again, and fought (figuratively) for the good stuff, the stuff that we believe in, we could get back to where we belong. I get tired of "outsiders" criticizing and finding fault with us, but even more so I get tired of "insiders" criticizing too. As my dad would've said, you don't like the country, do something to make it better or get the heck out! Sorry to run on. That's my "rant" for the day!

  29. a little bit of witticism and some very serious issues; well penned, X

    Forged from the love of liberty
    my post was too late for the DVerse linky

    much love…

  30. reminds me of that Bruce Hornsby tune, If I had a rocket launcher... ~