The Story Isn't New

you tell me about Easter and I’ll
tell you about the year
where during unprecedented
global crisis we
rejected a Jewish
messiah with good ideas
in favor of a landlord
who pussy grabs you by the throat
makes you a whore
collects the rent and tells you
to get bent
in Brooklyn

because money grows on trees
in politics and in policies
in certain yards and on the backs of
teenagers in the National Guard
but not in Queens
where there isn’t enough PPEs
to keep nurses alive and
disproportionate numbers of black men will die
yeah tell me about Easter
on Flushing Street

and I’ll tell you about tombs in city parks
streets empty before dark
because there is no Holy Night
in the Bronx
where ice drips in the streets
snow queen reigns in the sheets
fire fighters brought to their knees
in September April and eternities
sure there’s walking dead men
but there is no rising on Fordham

let’s talk about the year that
kids in Punjab saw the Himalayas
rising from the playa
finally seen above the smog
tell me that isn’t God
tell me that isn’t tomb rolled back
wide open space to
stack the bodies and offer grace
the year we didn’t find a cure
or choose an American do-oer

Just rolled over and handed the keys
to another part of the monarchy
a sanitized and sterilized version of
kingdom come
that passes the white light bright test of
American crown on American dome
it’s not political
not hypocritical
it’s just the media ablaze
reporters in a daze
truth cast from the rose garden
if you try to be ardent or
prudent or honest or

tell me about 80 confirmed cases of
covid-19 from one small town
South Dakota pork packing
plant and then tell me
that three days without production
is good enough and I will tell
you about the time I stood on a
collegiate rooftop and called that bluff
that men and women are created equal
that we have a right to life and liberty
come for me and I’ll come guns blazing
year without savior
twenty twenty hazing

here’s the thing
the story isn’t new

we didn’t learn about six thousand
african oklahomans
gunned down by a mob of
white neighbors 19 twenty
one from a class in history
we learned it as watchmen from
a superhero show on TV
and it took Ferguson and
Trayvon and the tiny body of
tiny Tamir Rice in a tiny casket
to tell you that racism is doing fine
even in coronatime in America

we didn’t follow the trail of tears didn’t
notice that we hard stopped writing the story
of Native America at Wounded Knee
because then we’d be accountable
to the blisters
broken sisters
traumatic brothers hurting
hurting mothers
because we still turn up the water
pressure and hose out the water protectors
at Standing Rock

here’s the thing
the story isn’t new

there are mega churches reminding
God’s people that they can
stream Easter dot com
and still put their offerings
in the digital offering plate
in a year where government checks can’t wait
where small business is gonna pay the rent late
where a cunt grabbing President reminds
us to pray
because maybe just maybe
the sky is less gray
but the sun still doesn’t shine in Brooklyn

you tell me about Easter and
I will tell you I know all about dying
I have tasted the air tangling my hair
on the side of a rural highway
I’ve taken the gun out of the hand of the
regular man who can’t get ahead
slept off the dread and the shutter
of a million pills taken
and a million words uttered
that offer eternal life but fall hollow
when a million dollars comes due
how about you

if you hike out far enough
from my front door
you can see the unforgettable site
of slaughter

all across America we cry
Holy Holy Holy
but it sounds like Mercy
and the grip is tightened
and the snake bites and the
sheets are whitened and we’re
bleached and beached and bleeding
and told to
learn to swim

so here’s to the respiratory therapist working
overtime at Elmhurst
handsewn mask covering tear stained cheeks
here’s to the doctor who hasn’t seen
their family since February except
across a screen
here’s to the land of the free
here’s to the paramedics on the front line
without a college degree just
working to pay off the therapy from the
PTSD and the impossibility of ever having
enough money to properly PPE
here’s to the land of the brave
the sinners and the saints
will die together in parking garages
remade as emergency wards
because we cannot afford
the treatment or the cure
new leaders or a good whore
where we haven’t gotten laid in
ninety-nine days
in America

so rest in peace
grave sealed
virus inside
sun rise

here’s the thing
the story isn’t new

now I know
how about you