Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience – Ben Turk

Close up image of a microphone on a stage. The audience that is facing the microphone is blurred, appearing as a myriad of colors (red, white, green, yellow, etc.)
As the incoming administration builds its agenda of attack on marginalized people, on freedom of speech, on the earth itself, poetry will continue to be an essential voice of resistance. Poets will speak out in solidarity, united against hatred, systemic oppression, and violence and for justice, beauty, and community.
In this spirit, Split This Rock is offering its blog as a Virtual Open Mic. For the rest of this frightening month, January of 2017, we invite you to send us poems of resistance, power, and resilience.

We will post every poem we receive unless it is offensive (containing language that is derogatory toward marginalized groups, that belittles, uses hurtful stereotypes, explicitly condones or implies a call for violence, etc.). After the Virtual Open Mic closes, we hope to print out and mail all of the poems to the White House.

For guidelines on how to submit poems for this call, visit the Call for Poems of Resistance, Power & Resilience blog post


Again Great America Make
by Ben Turk

Again refers to nostalgia for a time that never existed.
A time when loving husbands beat and raped their wives,
a time when strange fruit hung from the trees
and the colored drank gratefully from their fountains,
when queers and immigrants smiled deference
to the superiority of straight white men.
Purging those insecurities via derision or murder
of the other was just the way things go.
Again was a time of godfearing bullies
ruling the land with a firm but righteous hand.
Again was a time that never existed,
bloodshed and oppression, lynching and violence
certainly all occurred but they were never okay.
Again still occurs, and is not okay now.
Again will continue, until we destroy it.

Great is a superlative of distinction,
a worm twisting in the head of a happy drone,
a soldier convinced to kill for another's gain,
and die for his family's continued peril.
Great is an adventure in subjugation,
a death squad who's only good deeds
were done to clear the field of competition
so the largest portion of pillage
could go in amerika's pile.
Great is bouquet of mushroom clouds
leveling cities, turning sand to glass
neutron-poisoning generations
of test subjects, foreign and domestic.
Great is the bloodiest lie,
which we must pound truths into.

America holds the world hostage
with stockpiles and drone fleets
omniscient and excessive, a boot for
every neck on anyone who dares dream different.
America is when the swindle stops working
so the swindler picks up a gun
and takes what he wants.
America kicks the brains out of babies,
blows up brides, and bathes in the blood
of the greatest genocides in human history.
America makes the world safe for democracy
and by democracy, we mean compulsory exploitation
we mean chains on wrists and nooses round necks.

Make me stop. Make a purge of any who dissent.
Make the world into your playboy's game.
Make the right to work and an empire of frats.
Make a mess of things. Make a wall, a smoking crater. 
Make a funny joke. Make a promise. Make the Reich.
Make us sick. Make us kneel. Make us beg. 
Make a great cleansing fire to expel every
degenerate feeling and birth your
bloody Utopia of sludge to drown us.
Make a move motherfucker.
Make us stop you. 
Make this end.

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