Since no one is listening (as they aren’t allowed)

Since no one is listening (as they aren’t allowed)

‘Et quelques cris de haine
Versés par quelques vieux
Sur de plus vieilles qu’eux
Dont le corps s’ensommeille’ -Jacques Brel

-for Chelsea Manning

Since no one is listening
as they aren’t allowed
since they have blocked you at the border
in a Métis replay begun perhaps in 1870
when the policy was
undying fealty to her corpulent majesty
in contempt only for your mixed kind-

The historians will dutifully say that your enemy was in the right
that your soul is as black as all the black that is black and refuses not
to be black and therefore won’t die-

Since no one is listening
because no one is allowed to listen
because they have locked you in a cell and said
freak, hermaphrodite
and other things that rhyme with a march in double time
because they say the men who bomb mules and wells and tiny unweaned ones
are the real heroes
that we should strip your hair, your skin
your penis and anything that once made you a man
and paste it across the chest of generals in fruit salads of martial wonderment-

The politicians shall say dutifully that your enemy is right to make sure
that the emperor’s amanuensis deserves a fellowship, deserves to be heard
simply because he sits on power’s lap and power’s hand turns the stick up his trou

Since no one can hear the sounds of the American Way
and the Canadian Way (which is mostly a Yankee echo, not a thoughtful choice)
emanating from the corridors of the one panopticon where even today
they allow no television
the place where you were kept within the narrow lines
of their tweezer tongs of freedom-

Since no one hears beyond the fact that the blessed lone Black President
said it was fine to loosen the bombs and the barbs that you protested
but like an enlightened one commuted your sentence
so the gates of Harvard Yard
and now Sussex Drive
can remain closed to the unrepentant, unmerciful blast
of T’kiyah G’dolah for the principle (not the practice)
of what North American English-speaking democracies claim they mean to be.

Let everyone unite against you, Métis
because what are you anyway?
A woman who wore the uniform of your country
lying to your superiors that you had American gonads
with American fusillades that would curb and carve and repurpose
the brown skinned benighted lands?

Let everyone be denied a chance to form an opinion
because you scare the lies that wear suits and speak platitudes
called policy
that swim bare chested on Pacific beaches threatened
by the oil of the allies who are doing the power broker’s bidding
killing the people you showed were hardly the willing executioners
of the great brown multitudes designs on our burdensome thirsts.

The lies in suits who march in Pride Parades and say
‘I love your kind’
in two languages
and pledge compassion for the disappeared
while the ‘found’ and not-yet-missing
wait

Listen.

Tell me that I’ve written a screed.
Tell me that when I close my eyes and say
‘Post America’ when?
that I am just as sick as the twentieth century’s worst
martyrs and murderers of the American dream
and the Canadian ‘True North Strong and Free’

Whose victory day we’ve yet to see.

Publius

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Sin to say

Sin to say

It is now a sin to say
‘least’
but you can’t say
‘poor’
because poor is, above all, boring

And to be boring is, of course,
something to deplore

You can’t say ‘black’
because black should be ‘ethnic’
and ethnic should mean
‘white’
while white should be objective
and transparent to truth

Can a man say call me ‘she’
or a woman mean ‘he’ when she says
‘look at me’?

And what is sin
if not a mark of membership
a covenant
and a declension

Words that are not said
phrases you aren’t supposed to say
never ring more true
than when understudies
perform in their place

The star of each show
is the long shadow
impertinent, rancid, arresting
the actor who molests your blood
by unveiling meaning.

Jeremy Nathan Marks