“Land of the Free”

His name was Alphonse
though, we never heard him speak
Every Sunday he wore
the same wrinkled dress-shirt
slightly too big
He rode the bus
his parents never came
Occasionally-washed dark hair
combed neatly to the side
I am uncertain if
ever I saw him smile.

Children, the devils
weighted the room with
hot-breathed whispers
as if to bring us closer
to the hungry damnation we sought
I watched
his shoulders curl inward
body betraying the mind
in learned defensive strategy
against miniature versions of the devout
practicing derisive piety.

Still, I do not know why
he returned, each week
perhaps in desperate hope
that God would save his soul
reward faith with comfort
Or perhaps
the devils he faced elsewhere
frightened him more
than the teething monsters-
not yet fully matured
into the evil they would become.

Who is to blame
for the unfettered gluttony
of our society?
For the self-devouring cycle
to which we have become enslaved
No longer can we exist
without being observed
and, being observed as
We mock the castes
of “lesser developed” countries
yet openly institute our own
without even the courtesy
of abandoning ignorance

Systematic breeding
of lessers and betters
fodder for the wargame
we are forced to play
and yet we dare
to call this
the land of the free.

© M. Black, 2016 All rights reserved.



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