By Joan Rivard 5 years ago6 Comments

Apache Tears and those of kids in foster homes express the way it feels
when the Beast does its favorite thing: tear people from their homes.
Whether they’re carried off as slaves or driven out by foreclosure
or burned out with scorched earth, the result is the same:
communities and clans and tribes established before time began
are dispersed to all corners of the Earth.
Gone are the ancestors, special embroideries, the songs and dance,
that set each group apart and made them feel as one.

All that is gone and now homogenous we pass each other on the street,
afraid to say hello but glancing up with questioning eyes.
Never has man been so alone as in this urban jungle where
old folks can die alone in cardboard boxes on the street.
Even the cave men cared for such as these,
saving them an old bear skin and a bone or two.
The elderly, revered by Indians who called God “Grandfather,”
are medicated for drug profits til they drool on rest home floors.

The zoning and insurance laws won’t let us take our loved ones in
unless we risk getting kicked out ourselves or fined.
They can’t live in a tent or trailer in our yard as we might get turned in,
and liability forbids our giving food to homeless people too.
The grocery stores must put locked gates and warning signs
around the giant bins of food they throw away each night
to keep the poor from taking it away to feed their families with.
It’s said they even spray it with a substance that makes people sick.

The homeless trek across deserts and many trails of tears
and stand desperate in unemployment lines.
They sleep on couches at their relatives’ or create hovels
in some hidden shed or attic like the Nazi victims did.
Many of them sleep in their cars or in abandoned wrecks
til these get towed containing everything they own.
Not satisfied with that the Beast demands large fines and impound fees,
squeezing food from the starving like Medieval lords.

There is no doubt where it wants us to go
when it’s denuded us of everything we have and all we are.
The prison system or the military’s where we’re worth the most
to corporations eager to suck up whatever’s left.
They can get prison dollars from the feds locking us up
or enlist conquering armies of the poor to go steal oil.
It’s almost gotten to the point of harvesting our kidneys and our lungs
to give a few of us eternal life.

Is Earth so poor, is God so miserly,
that human beings must strive and scrape just to survive?
Religionists and bankers preach that man must live by his brow’s sweat,
although you never see them breaking one in their starched shirts.
They lay such heavy burdens on our backs,
with strokes of bureaucratic pens or holy quotes from dusty books.
They carpet-bomb the miserable for war profits
and sweep the homeless off the streets with bulldozers.

The Lord has seen what kind of “faith” some preachers have,
fanatics who want mushroom clouds to prove their prophecies are right.
The lies they teach bear no resemblance to what Jesus taught.
The hell they love is what they make for all the rest.
The dogmas of their cult of death are so complex and intricate
that teams of scholars with piles of books can’t get them right.
The love that Jesus taught, He said a child could understand.
It was a thing the unread thief beside Him on the cross could grasp.

  Political Poetry
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