2 July 2018 poem

An Incomplete History

To prove I was as good as my European ancestors,
I walked into my neighbor’s house,

planted a big, bright poetry flag
and declared what was theirs mine.

They stood little chance with their steak knives
against my chrome plated Smith & Wesson.

They stood little chance against the small pox I brought with me,
since they belonged to an anti-vaccine group.

It did not stop with that first neighbor.
Having once gotten a taste for conquest, I hungered for ballads.

Since I, alone, was too small to think from sea to shining sea,
I thought from river to river within the city limits.

I wrote a constitution that gave all the power
to poets six feet tall and taller.

I wrote ten amendments that guaranteed
tall poet privilege through an unequal application of the laws.

There should have been a whiskey rebellion by the short poets,
but they were too busy brushing up on Skeltonic verse.

There should have been a Nat Turner rebellion
but those poets practiced an open verse beat al la Sekou Sundiata.

The civil war was uncivil as all civil wars happen to be.
The academic poets were first contraband, then emancipated,

but they re-enslaved themselves to the ivory tower
debating in minute detail the meaning of Howl and The Wasteland.

copyright © 2018 Kenneth P.  Gurney


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