This Nation

Muses and fetishes, particular
And patronizing gods, myths and those men
That to past darkness have been many a star.
Seeing how our encumbered regimen
Has all our pride and heart, have given a wide
Berth to the corners of our chosen field
And left us to our busy heart and pride.
Left us the frenzy which we chose for shield.
Stretch out no arms, look with no sorry eyes
Into their world, we being given to this.
Black steel, piled stone and the rigidities
That keep you safe your mouth should sweeten to kiss.
This nation is a sea bird that, still-born
Into the violence of a rising sea,
Seems to be flying, so are the wings torn
By winds though no bird's power shakes them free.
One bitter feather fastened in the breast,
That were no feather were it not that bird's,
May ride no higher than the last wave's crest.
Water its element, mere wind its words.
It will not matter, for the feather's quill
Fast in the water-shackled flesh could find
Passion and strength in nothing but that chill
Bosom under those eyes that were born blind.

This poem originally ran in the November 9, 2011, issue of the magazine.