Poetry

The Dead, Redux, or, How I Ranted About the U.S. and Accidentally Repeated Joyce

I just read a Reddit comment
claiming that America gets the Halloween season right,
and my first thought was
“That’s ’cause we’re one giant ghost country,”
then I thought about how we’re haunted by
so many sins,
and this person went on to say
(I’m paraphrasing here)
that wearing a costume is liberating,
so I thought about
how we cover our problems,
and we hide our roots,
and we ignore all the violence
inside every suit,
and now I’m thinking
that calling us a ghost country
is accurate
and wrong at the same time,
’cause many ghosts haunt us,
but the people we’ve wronged
are still living here,
they’re struggling here,
and though I did not commit many of America’s sins
personally,
I benefit from the repercussions of systemic wrongdoing,
I receive a relatively cushy life
thanks to inherent
violence
vice
repression
racism
sexism
ableism
God, I wish I could be more
poetic about this,
but I can only state it plainly,
that America’s problem, mainly,
is that it’s tearing itself to pieces all the time,
and the people who could do things better
never get positive attention, or power,
and half the country glowers
at any suggestion that we could improve ourselves,
so we’re fascinated by ghosts
and we’re inundated by monsters
because they show us a truth that we’d rather deny,
and the masks let us hide
in the stories we tell,
we convince ourselves that we’re not stuck in this hell,
a gigantic grave,
and a cell,
a shell of the beautiful land it once was,
before all the settlers,
before all the colonies,
now just a siphon that’s sucking the money
from every poor worker
and every minority
and, well, most everyone, actually,
the people at the top
are sipping grape gravy
and chuckling at somebody’s racist tweet.
They know they’ve shackled our feet,
and we can’t get anywhere
unless we agree to work for them,
then they drag us,
slowly,
while syringes and hoses
take every ounce of blood,
every dollar,
from us,
and I don’t know where this is going,
I just know
I’m real sad
that all we have is hospitality, and spooky shit,
Joyce said it all a century ago,
about Ireland,
and it applies to us now,
we’re a frail fucking cow
who’ll bend over backwards
to give up our milk.

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