Excerpt from Poet’s Blues
An unpublished collection of poems
by Dr. Glenda Bates
I feel so trapped
We Can’t Breathe
It’s hard to breathe deep
When there’s smoke all around
The wild fires are burning our towns to the ground
It’s hard to hold back
When there’s so much at stake
Trying to create what makes us all great
Our dignity, freedom, unity, and expression
Bring us together in resonant fashion
Fighting Nazis and MAGAs is not up for discussion
We must conquer these racists who make hate their passion
Xenophobes, racists, sexists, and classists
All live among us
And within us, in our own cultural bias
Delivered to us through messaging since time immortal
The climate is changing and so are we
The ocean is rising and so are we
The season is changing and so are we
The world keeps on turning
They can’t fool all of us all of the time
Keep each other informed
I can feel the weight of debt crushing my soul.
I tell myself it doesn’t matter, it’s only imaginary,
This thing we call money
It won’t clothe me
It won’t feed me
And yet, I can’t do any of those things without it.
Why must we chase these green dreams?
We have enough food
To feed the world
But not enough money to make it so.
There’s plenty for each person to prosper
Yet we save, and hoard
Refusing to share
To “protect our own”
We waste and starve our neighbor.
Papa McKenna says the poets have failed us.
Failed to articulate a change,
an idea to grasp,
to unify us
as the times before.
But deep down, we know it’s different this time
We can’t pretend it’s all the same
Continue with this little game
We’re too aware of our interdependence and connectivity
At this point
To settle for a naïve solution.
But have we grown enough?
Are we there yet?
Can we make a change, turn it around,
Or is it
Have we killed our home?
We cannot even imagine how wonderful our society would
be without war
A thriving sustenance
For all to feed
Our imprinted psyches only know
It is the organizing force of our society
Drawing boundaries and “protecting” them with murder
How can we imagine something different?
Can our hearts know more?
Don’t let us waste this momentum
Let’s put the pedal to the floor