Poetry of Provocation and Witness from Split This Rock: Poem #2

The Day Obama Decided

The day Obama decided enough was enough
and turned off his TV and slept well for the first time since 2007,
and Nancy Pelosi decided enough was enough
on a weekend in Vermont, when she threw
the Times and the Post into the woodstove unread,
and Congress decided enough was enough
staring into the mirrors of their sleeping consciences:
They began by ordering all the troops home.

You should have seen the parades.

They marched past boarded-over buildings
and threw grenades
made from tulip bulbs and tomato seeds
into weedy empty lots.

They pulled trailers down the highways
past the cornfields
and wheeled hot tubs up to the doors
of arthritic old ladies,
presented bottles full of bubble bath
stamped “Courtesy of U.S. D.O.D.”

They rode ferris wheels with teenagers from Guantanamo,
passed baklava, pupusas, and mangoes on sticks
down the streets to anyone who wanted them.

Then they marched down Pennsylvania Avenue.
The doors of the White House were flung wide open.
Anyone who wanted to could stream in
for a handshake and a plastic flag.

The air was thick with confetti
from all the shredded fear laws.
Open your mouth: You can still
taste the jagged edges.
“SB1070” and “USA PATRI”
melt away on your tongue.

-Margit Berman

Used by permission.

Margit Berman is a writer, activist, psychologist, and faculty at Dartmouth Medical School. These days she’s fasting for a morally just budget, meta-analyzing Big Pharma, organizing a Park(ing) Day event in Minneapolis in September 2011, and blogging about body image and size acceptance. Berman is published in If Poetry Magazine and has won awards at the Poetry-Free-For-All and Garrison Keillor’s Green Light at the End of the Dock Festival of Romantic Poetry.

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