American wars

American wars

In my life I have seen a war launched on a lie
watched a sovereign nation dismantled in my name

I have watched from a distance a sniper and his assistant
shoot up, wound and kill men, women and children
at bus stops, schools and parking lots
across the roads, streets and neighborhoods of the community
where I grew up

Now, this did not make me rise up and declare myself a black man
even if I learned the hard way what it means to have my home turf
turned into a shooting gallery with too many innocents taken
I didn’t try to say that it was war against me or my kind
on account of bad shit befalling me (actually, it was befalling
the wounded and killed, their family and friends)
I didn’t go and make what was happening any more about me than it was
since it really wasn’t about me at all

In my life I have a seen a war launched on a lie
call it “culture” but that does not make it any less of a war
for as we have seen, there are plenty of casualties
even if not all of them bleed their blood to the same degree

My aunt recently told me that when her European brother
came over to our shores
he was struck by the loneliness, despair and anomie
in the gas stations, trailer parks and diners
he seemed to be experiencing what dear Gil Scott called
“Winter in America”
with the delicious irony that everything in our American winter
simply gets hotter.

Jeremy Nathan Marks