Election Day, November

11/4/2008

"I reject a politics that is based solely on racial identity, gender identity, sexual orientation, or victimhood generally. I think much of what ails the inner city involves a breakdown in culture that will not be cured by money alone, and that our values and spiritual life matter at least as much as our GDP." Barack OBama

All I know is:
I've always been poor.
There's always been lack,
and the black dog at my
back door. Grey skies today,
grey skies here in Florida,
wind whipping, small flurries
of rain, and, what did I say
before? It's simple. I've
always, always, always been
poor. So what do I have?
A voice, poems, blackberries,
love, a cat. Words. Friends.
A soul. Not much in the way
of money or things, but
pretty much everything else
I need is right here. My
parents gave me what? Almost
everything I need to get by
in a world of no opposition,
a world of interior, a world
where people close each others'
eyes and see exactly the same
scene.

But that is not the world
I live in, and I don't know if I'm
right, don't know how to tell whether
or not you're wrong. I don't want to
be a warrior for peace, don't want to
force anything down anyone's throat,
and I know, I know, I know, were my
first words, but I know I don't know
everything, know I don't know much, but
I know lack. I know people fear what they
don't know. I know fear makes people angry,
makes them act out in aggression. I know
people really care just a little bit more
about money than they do God.

And I know I placed my favorite vote
for the President of the United States ever.
I know I don't hate. I know I don't blame.
But what a darkness waves, waves up,
when I remember those towers falling,
when I remember the tanks rolling, the
bombs falling, the votes shaking, the levies
breaking, and no answers, no apologies, no love
anywhere, all love lost, and a misguided dry drunk
running it all.

I cast my vote. I voted for a world
not made perfect, but a world that might
have some apologies, some love, some
forgiveness, something more than lack.
Like I said, I've always, always,
always been poor. I know I don't want
to feel like that anymore. So. Here
we go. Changes always come, waves roll
up our way, waves roll back, rise to
staggering heights, and fall back down
again and crash and break violent
on the shore of sand and salt and grit.

Just today. Just this. Just this welling
up of something bigger than money,
bigger than old-time religion,
bigger than the fears our small souls
scream about. Forget about the pit of
snakes, forget about the falling backward
from impact of the first gun you ever fired.

Let out the ringing. Let out the light.
Bring back that long night. Bring back
the quiet Rumi song of work to be done,
the one where we're I am you and you are
me. Bring back Woody Guthrie, bring back
Emma Goldman, Martin Luther King, Bobby
Kennedy, Malcom X and JFK. Bring back
Robert Frost, T.S. Eliot, and Yeats.
Let's ask them to rewrite their best
works. Where nothing gold goes away,
the one where the mermaids finally answer
back, where we know no more lack,
where King's dream's a reality,

where the slave becomes a prince,
paupers are allowed in palaces,
and my old neighborhood drunks
on the corner raise a paper-bagged
beverage in the air, neighbors lean
out their windows and the whores
sing like angels at the joy of turning
leaves, the snap of snow on the wind,
and a black man, a black man, yes, a
black man, becoming the
President of the United States.

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