Dream Of America
2017 09 29
The hot sun glitters in the cloudless sky
and cars glide gleaming on the crowded highway.
Wearing a black leather jacket and cap,
Darnell slouches against the red brick wall
of the bar full of men drinking cold beer
under the cement overpass at noon,
and blows cigarette smoke into the wind.
"The notion of this land, America,
is nothing more than a bright fantasy
that shimmers with the principles we cherish
of freedom and equal justice for all.
That beautiful vision of America
that our school teachers insisted was real
is but an illusion that blinds our eyes
so we cannot see the real world around us
teeming with angry people in steel cities
who compete in games for pleasure and power.
Over the past eight years of simmering tension
more than fifty people with darker skin
were shot dead by police on city streets
whether they were guilty or innocent
because the men who wear blue uniforms
are tense with fear that they will kill them first.
Why do police perceive us as dire threats
just because our outer skin is dark brown?
Ten thousand years ago in Africa
our ancestors walked across the hot sand
of the vast Sahara Desert on quest
for lush green paradise of sparkling streams.
The hot sun gleamed bright gold from cloudless sky
in piercing rays down upon our bare skin
after we escaped the pyramid towns,
so those with lighter skin fell dead on sand
while those with darker skin survived the light,
thus we became dark as the moonless night.
Ten thousand years ago in Gothinia
their ancestors walked across the cold snow
of the wind-swept Scythian Steppes on quest
for lush green paradise of sparkling streams.
The pale sun gleamed dark gray through raining clouds
in feeble rays down upon their bare skin
after they escaped the ziggurat towns,
so those with darker skin fell dead on snow
while those with lighter skin survived the dark,
thus they became pale as the midnight moon.
We walked across the hot blistering sand
and they walked across the cold freezing snow,
so now we are black and now they are white,
transformed by the extreme weathering force
to fit the style of our environment.
Whether children of the sand or the snow
we are all the sons and daughters of Egypt,
descended from one tribal mother, Amen,
who taught us how to sing at dawn of time.
We all migrated to America
from Europe and Africa in wood boats,
they seeking wealth, us rattling iron chains,
sailing together across stormy seas,
to build this land with the sweat of our hands,
they the masters and we the slaves of hope,
till we were freed from chains in civil war.
Though we were freed by civil war to earn
fair wages as reward for honest work
yet still we slaved for one hundred years more,
abused by land owners who see themselves
as the grand superior race of this world.
But now that old world of unequal laws
crumbles in the wind of fair principles
because the noble concept that all people
are created equal under the aegis
of one objective law surpasses pride,
and provides solid foundation of truth
to build new society which provides
opportunity for every good man
who works hard with honest faith to succeed
attaining wealth of secure home and car
to care for his own family with love.
Some day I may earn opportunity
to achieve the great American Dream
but today my honest work and calm faith
are not rewarded with that promised wealth.
I earned a college degree in accounting,
which I paid for cooking burgers in bars,
but though I sent a hundred resumes
not one job interview materialized
because I have no Anglo-Saxon name.
Last week I changed my first name from Darnell
to Daniel on new set of resumes
and already five companies called back,
but now I want no phony interview.
Yet I should seize this opportunity
to gain honest employment I deserve.
I want to marry Tammy and buy home
where we can raise cute children of our love,
so I will take the risk to interview,
trusting that they will treat me with respect
and offer me employment for my skill.
I will seize the day and build a new life
for that is the dream of America."
Flicking cigarette into the trash can,
Darnell sighs and walks to his small apartment
where he dons new blue suit his mother bought,
then rides the bus downtown to the state bank.
Walking toward the shining door of the bank,
Darnell straightens his suit jacket and tie,
and recites answers to interview questions
that his girlfriend helped him to memorize,
but just as he reaches for silver handle
two policemen block his way and demand
to see his identification card.
Stepping back and raising both hands halfway,
Darnell explains, "I have an interview,"
but they both pull guns they aim at his head,
and shout for him to lie down on the ground.
"I have a job interview," Darnell shouts,
and reaches in his jacket for the letter,
so they fire bullets in his beating heart,
and he falls stunned under the empty sky
where his soul bleeds onto the hard cement
as he fades from the American Dream.
When the anthem is played at football games,
kneel to honor the loss of this good man,
for the Stars and Stripes that waves in the sky
over the land of the Free and the Brave
stands for the principle of equal rights
for everyone who lives in this great land
and joins in the dream of America.
#Poem #Poetry #Ballad #AmericanDream #BlackLivesMatter #BLM #EqualJustice #EqualOpportunity
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