I too hear America Singing

I too, hear America singing

Many millions of songs.

 

I hear the song of my teachers

All they say is listen.

 

I hear the song of the children

Their heightened bellow

As they loosen their backpack straps and sigh

Because that's the only protest here at Belmont High

I hear the minor chords

Their searing eyes sing

To mourn the mornings

That pain them beyond their fatiguing expanse of knowledge.

 

I hear the song of a mob

Boastful and patriotic

Angry and erratic

Quick to blame and quick to shame

With an exhausting sense of pride

Their notes are forte staccato

Their minds are absorbed in their song

 

I hear the song of tyrannical malady

With a chorus of gunshots fired

And a refrain of black bodies hitting the ground

Choking on their last breaths

I hear the song of white cloaks and blue suits

Nowadays you buy them in pairs

Not flailing to cover their tracks

Not even flinching when their lies don't add up

They don't need to be sneaky when it is only their comrades

Deciding if killing out of racism is legal

And to them,

It is

 

I hear the poverty line singing

It's neither flat nor low

It rises and does grow

In a raspy crescendo

 

I hear the song of women

Dying from their doctors’ disbelief

I hear the song of women

Tossing twisted in grief

That their brothers, sons and husbands

Believe that we are less

I hear the song of women

Walking the streets in stress

That the man walking behind them

Will force them to undress

And perform some acts of sex

Because I guess that's what women do best

 

I hear the natives song

But only because I listened

I hear the natives song

They sing with the earth and wind

Why won't white men stop

To heal the knees they’ve skinned?

Why do you talk over us

Until our voices are never heard

And when you say “politics”

You never keep your word

You said that we’d be safe

You raped you murdered you stole

No matter what we do

You’ll dig another hole

And oil our knees while we beg and plead

But you just turn your head,

Watching excavators roll.

 

I hear the song of my friends

Crying in their closets

Because of the jokes and slurs

They've climbed up to the turrets

I hear the song of my lover

Cried with the clicking of keys

While she deletes my romantic messages

Because in America,

Being gay is too shameful for even her parents.

 

I hear America singing

I hear more than I can write

If you let yourself listen

Then you will understand the need to fight

I hear America singing

Many millions of songs at once

And once you take a listen

 

You, too hear America screaming

 

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