Freedom Day

 

freedom day

Jack Ramey reads Freedom Day.

We hold these truths to be self-evident:
all white men who own property are created equal –
this of course excludes black people and Indian people
and women and poor white whiskey tangos
who have no pot to piss in.

Nonetheless, it is a beautiful morning this morning
when all Americans are freed from work
(except those who work at Walmart and MacDonald’s
and Burger King and Pizza Hut and Kroger
and Safeway and Piggly Wiggly)
freed to pursue barbeque picnics by the lake
and drunken relatives
and loud firework displays
that proclaim with colored gunpowder our freedom.

Oh say can you see? Those rockets bursting over your villages
for the past ten years in Iraq and Afghanistan,
the cluster bombs and napalm exploding in jungles
forty years ago in Vietnam, just look at the beautiful tracers
shooting out from the sides of ironic helicopters
bearing the name of those we have subdued –

Apache! Geronimo! shouted those paratroopers
who leaped out of planes on D-Day
two years or so before I was born
into this land of freedom and gory.

The list of those we have invaded to protect our freedom
is too long to tell: hello Philippine Islands, hello Nicaragua,
Guatemala, Panama, Grenada, Cuba, Tunisia, Libya,
Iraq, Afghanistan,Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia,
Japan (and all the islands she laid claim to)
Germany, Italy, Mexico, the Korean Peninsula,
the Five Nations, the Creek Nations, the Cherokee Nation,
the Chickasaw Nation, the Shawnee Nation, the Sioux Nations,
the Comanche Nations, the Yuma, the Pomo, the Ute,
the Cheyenne, Blackfoot, Crow, the Mandan, the Sauk and Fox,
the Navajo, the Hopi, Apache, Pueblo, all those half naked
starving savages we small-poxed and grape-shot out of existence
and gave the remaining few their freedom on reservations
in Oklahoma where the wind comes whippin’ cross the plains,
freedom to be Americans just like you and me.

 

 from   Eavesdropping in Plato’s Café

Featured Painting: Planting Dance  by  Susan Reycroft

The Declaration of Independence proclaimed freedom from the tyranny of a foreign power for a group of privileged white men—landowners and bankers in New England whose forbearers ethnically cleansed their property of the indigenous populations. Desire for land and gold took settlers all the way to the Pacific Ocean, pushing the native populations further and further toward the margins of existence. I wrote this poem on July 4, one year ago, to witness through the smoke and noise of celebratory fireworks what freedom means for those who have been left out of the American dream. 

All Americans, except for native Americans, are descended from immigrants.  In stark contrast to Donald Trump’s proposed wall to keep out the immigrants, Steve Wall recorded the following words of wisdom from Leon Shenandoah in his book,  To Become a Human Being: The Message of Tadodaho Chief Leon Shenandoah

“What you call the United States,
we Indians call the Great Turtle Island.
This is where the Creator planted us
and when He did, He made us free.
Europeans were not planted here,
but you came here because
you wanted to be free like us.
In our original Instructions
we were told that
nobody owned the land
except the Creator.
That’s why we welcomed you.”

 

My historical novel Turtle Island: A Dream of Peace  is dedicated to  the spirit of  Leon Shenandoah and the Iroquois people.   

 

 


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