Ode to America

Perhaps if my glass was always half full,
I’d be able to raise it in a solemn toast
To the man that runs the country some
 
Thousand miles over the air; because I can
Sit in bars, and drink my spirits to oblivion –
If only they had the same privilege as I. 
 
Did you know that in ancient times, a person
Like him was a called a “tyrant” (back then
It meant a man who inherited the power of
 
The nation with popular support) and yet,
The modern definition could still apply. A man
That changes laws and constitutions to
 
Suit himself, creates a country oppressed
By change. And as chaos rampages, they throw
Sticks and stones – it may break the bones 
 
Of kids who run in playgrounds, but bullet 
Wounds don’t heal the same way bruises do.
In a country that has nearly as many mass 
 
Shootings as days of the year, Americans 
Are more likely to die from gun violence 
Than any other form. We are waiting, locked
 
On our TV screens, hearing static, for the
Inevitable news that the three hundred 
And eighth attempt has been successful. 
 
But what is successful? When the future of
The states that are meant to be united, rests
On the shoulders of those who no longer
 
Exist, dead and buried, dismembered and
Thrown into unnamed lakes – Alize Ramon 
Smith and Jarron Keonte Moreland. The media
 
May have forgotten about you, but we shall not. 
And though your President can threaten to
Shoot his supporters and still be loved just the
 
Same, you should know that our love is being
Held between our pleading hands for you and
You alone. We sleep each night hoping to
 
Wake to the sounds of impeachment, and not
The view of another child hanging from a tree –
Call it a suicide, Dayne Dion Jones, lynched. 
 
We were supposed to have escaped the
Oppressive horrors of the nineteen twenties’
Red Scare, our kids are supposed to be 
 
Safe. Except, not all kids in America are
Mourned the ‘dulce et decorum’ way – because
A Muslim teen from Virginia can be kidnapped, 
 
Raped and killed, but who would remember
That her name was Nabra Hassanen? So
Focused on deportation and segregation,
 
This man is controlling the puppet strings of
Family life. A three year old has lost their father,
A wife has lost a husband; a family that under
 
Obama would have been given priority, reduced
From three to two and Marco Antonio Muñoz
Has killed himself from heartbreak. Not only
 
Does the President endanger the lives of
Those whose lives have been fulfilled, but 
Those who have yet to achieve their ambitions –  
 
Manuel Antonio Cano Pacheco, throat slit, 
Three weeks after returning to the sights and
Smells of Mexico, three weeks after breaking in
 
New shoes, along the paths of his childhood 
Home. Is it that we have done away with
Democracy? Is it that we have forgotten that
 
Power should only be wielded in the hands of
Those who use it for good, and not for political 
Gain? For as long as we keep Donald Trump,
 
Not a single thing will change.

Written by Maiya Dambawinna

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