Leaf and Limb

And so it is said that
the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
Some trees are fickle,
no good in a pot,
or on the back of a truck ready for transplant.
Why on earth anyone would think
that liberty might be factory farmable

rather than a breeze-borne seed
in search of a receptive patch
to grow in or die in,

is beyond
reason
of art
or horticulture.

Put up a wall
and watch a seedpod show you
exactly how small your plan,
and your dragging feet
and coal-raking cruelty
did nothing
but till the soil bare and open

With the sanguine stain
of ripe fruit on fingertips, as if painted:
Still Life of Black Man/Black Woman With Bullet Holes
The berry seed lands in your open dirt.

A citizen is the heartwood of patriotism.
Not the warriors.
Nor the foreman.

Black and brown citizens been refreshing the tree for some time now.

The tree still has a thirst.

 

 


*Author’s note: I recognize the hollowness of Thomas Jefferson’s words as a slave owners carrying on about liberty. I hope that applying those words in service to addressing systemic racism and oppression adds credence to the words, not the speaker.

** Author’s other note: Because of the times that we live in, it seems necessary to say that I do not advocate for or condone violence. I believe in nonviolence. This is a work of poetry and the intent is poetic. The call for blood is a call for the tyrants and oppressors of our times to be held accountable to those whom harm has come through them. It must also be said, that history makes a case that those who are refused justice will eventually demand it with ever increasing force until they have it. The earlier justice is paid, the lighter the accrued interest.

***It is the taste of one which demands the taste of the other. Feed your trees with things less bitter.

****May the suffering in the world be lessened.

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