America, America, Wherefore Art Thou?
Poem By Day Williams
Adolescent legislators who mouth off too often
Wrestle with pigs in mud beneath the Dome,
The dirt and excrement do nothing to soften
Potbelly Senators who take commands from Rome.
Reps draft a bill that requires teachers to watch MASH
And a movie with Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda,
Politicians wrestle and slug for donors' cash,
And try to sell statues in the Rotunda,
The Prez invites them to the Garden for fruit punch,
Half grasp the fruit and punch their opponents
The other half nibble the Bill of Rights for lunch,
And the valet hands each guest a bill for the Garden's rent.
Across the halls where secrets are kept in a sieve,
The eager Committees rack up points for their viewers,
All three of whom are trapped in rooms they cannot leave
In prison beds below the tunnels and the City's sewers.
At the sacred Tomb of the Soldier Unknown
A family stands behind the rope and waves,
The soldier on duty thinks he hears a groan,
A rumble is heard as a body turns in its grave,
"America, America wherefore art thou? "
Over Arlington's graves echoes a disembodied voice,
"You've traded common sense for mockers and Mao,
You've stabbed yourself, and the Marxists rejoice:
Remember pioneers who carved homes from wilderness,
City fathers, railroad builders, miners, the engineers
Of bridges and towers, doctors who alleviate distress,
Warm families, dedicated teachers, and balladeers,
Remember how you wanted government small,
So men had freedom and labored on their own
To build their lives, unimpeded, and rise or fall
On their pluck and luck, persistence alone,
Without a bureaucrat calling the shots
Or an obscure agency calling a halt
To complex construction as an afterthought
Or a big city law firm forcing a default.
Remember, America, your bloody humble birth,
When you fought off a king so you could self-rule
Under God, a beacon for the lands on the earth,
A center where great minds would come for school."
And the Prez went home with his wife for a day,
And the family told their friends in paraphrase,
And the soldier marched and turned in perfect phase,
And the legislators stumbled home in a haze.