Battle Cries

(I sent this poem into the Salem College Literary Contest on February 20, 2019 and received, basically, a “Thanks for your submission, but no thanks”, response within a month. LOL Still I like the poem so I am posting it. Screw them.)

Battle Cries

There shines a paltry light that highlights the empathy that has waned

throughout the days of recent years.

Arisen are dark thoughts and deeds numbering in the multitudes.

The deeds encouraged and fed by a populace who follow a morally skeletal leader

into the depths of egocentrism, revenge and hate.

Those who have long hidden their hatred

now show this emotion in public,

their hands twitching to abuse those who differ from them in some way,

however small the difference.

These misguided persons now rise and act with impunity

against those targeted by the leader’s last speech.

Righteous! Christian! America first! Enemies of the People!

The national criers feel all words and deeds are sanctioned with these now meaningless proclamations.

Happily hating the lives of others

in revenge of the lack of success in their lives.

Cheering the absence of honesty, ethics and morality

Because, in doing so, they buy into the delusion they are special-the chosen ones.

Intelligence does not prevent the subscription to Conspiracy Daily arriving at the homes

of previously reasonable individuals, now drawn into the cult

of the wayward son of wealth and privilege

who bought the flag he hugs

with lies, deceit and the measured hum of a preacher’s voice

that stirs the basest instincts of his followers.

He mouths words of sorrow to the victims

without acknowledging the atmosphere of hate he created.

And, within short time, he will excuse the actions of the perpetrators-

shifting the blame for the acts born from hate-filled rhetoric to other blameless victims.

The leader paces in his room before his television set

formulating how to control each station  

and reacting swiftly with a broadcast in tweets

heard around the world.

Foreign leaders caught smiling

at our leader’s naivete as they consider how to best use our resources.

His underlings cling to the fabric of their dignity to ensure their jobs,

neglecting their morals, religious beliefs and ethics.

On the weekends, these public servants explain to their children 

that daddy or mommy must bow to this king of smoke and mirrors

to keep a job whose original meaning has become obsolete.

But there are those who see beyond the charisma of this leader.

Charisma fueled by the leader’s disjointed speeches interspersed with

a laser focus on the destruction of whichever group is hated by those assembled.  

He lacks concern for his followers and

those who oppose him, he would gladly eliminate.

His followers are simply the means for his continuance of power

which affords him the ability to line his pockets in a large-scale manner.

He strikes fear into hearts of the elected officials of his party.

His displeasure is known to be lethal to careers.

So, they allow him full reign to do whatever he chooses.

He will eventually sacrifice all ties to maintain his fabricated reputation.

His business is the business of raping the nation of honor and cash

while destroying the paper that bound this country to democracy and decency.

August 8, 1974. To repeat that day with the present leading man!

Protection of self above all else in the grab for absolute power rings the same in both instances

as does the marching into the sea of illusion for the followers of this and that

false god.

If this leader was a man without power, money, or prestige

and spewed the same words, gave the same speeches or attempted to spark the same feelings,

peers would snicker behind closed doors-or those without care, to his face,

proclaiming his ideas absurd in a democracy

labeling him a troublemaker and an ass.

To those who fight injustice in this new America

with words or non-violent action,

you give voice and attention to the injustice present in our nation.

Be encouraged.

Your sacrifice and boldness will be honored and have a place in history.

We must fight injustices directed at all groups this leader persecutes to silence their force.

We cannot fight the magnitude of the lies

without banding together and fighting the injustices collectively now.

Be strong. Be brave. Be smart. Be effective. Be heard.

These are our mantras, our battle cries.

February 19, 2019 Toni Leedy

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