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Whose Liberty? Which Freedoms?

Reflections on the state of what was supposed to be a union.

graphic renderings of the Statue of Liberty in red, white, and blue colors
Is She Just A Statue? Poem by Amy A. DeCew, digital collage created in Canva

From 9/11 to January 6th, America has had days showing the best of its heroes and the worst of itself. Where the U.S. goes from here, I'm never sure. The appalling decay in half the nation's interest or belief in democracy, science, healthcare, public education, and even basic facts, may mean the end of all of us.

The 2024 election looms large and deadly over a country where first responders had to fight for their healthcare for years on end, watching the mayor who had managed crisis become a perpetrator of crisis. What and who will you choose, America? And why?

Poem: Is She Just a Statue?

It's just the way I am this way, eyes never shut (would I ever could),

fire spiral meant to be a beacon (but is this arson instead?)

and how this shining ray diadem of spikes has been a balance...of what now, I'm a loss.

Tuesday on top of the world, and Wednesday lost.

A temporary toy for men who are boys, sister of sin, concubine to cads--

some say there was a time I made eyes shine with the weight of what mattered.

Now I see they have put me on a cross.

Tuesday on top of the world, and Wednesday lost.

My chaotic funeral, announced but not believed, as I lifted skyward as ever I had,

eyes on a horizon few and fewer still desired.

Evidently, I've become an albatross.

Tuesday on top of the world, and Wednesday lost.

When the dragons screamed from the clouds, when the castle towers shattered,

I did not flinch.

I stood my ground, for all the world to know that we do not bow to imagined kings.

Then watched some ones who were on my watch warp into lesser things,

to serve a cause that long ago was misbegotten.

I stand on granite, I walk over water, my voice familiar on every wind and tide.

But now you tell me, "step aside".

What if I will not?

Tuesday on top of the world, and Wednesday lost.

For some now I'm grey: for some now I'm blue,

for others I was always a lie; it's true--

born of death at a scale that altered the odds in uneven ways that continue to haunt,

do I look more pale, more flagged, more shot?

I am all of those things, but don't pretend you're not.

My etched words never reached inwards-- not enough to prevent this everlasting coin toss.

Tuesday on top of the world, and Wednesday lost.

I dream now of utopia, of shores unmarked by masts,

of steel never forged, of questions never needing to be asked.

I stare and stare again into some imagined space where what I am is not silent,

where no one was erased.

Where memory is keen and insight keener. They call me an idealist. A dreamer.

Where is your altar to the goddess of conscience?

There, are "human" and "humane" intertwined?

I tower, I mark, I symbolize, yet I am so ill-defined.

I exist, yet I do not.

Tuesday on top of the world, and Wednesday lost.

I find myself surprised to wake into what world made me--

how am I here yet so constantly unmade?

I am real, I am fiction, I am vicious, I am kind, I am arrogant, I am humble, I am joyful,

I am terrified.

What will be the sacrifice? Of whom?

It will be what you concoct of me, every single time. And lives besides.

It should have been a warning they carved, not an inspiration.

When will I give way, when somehow even mettle and metal can dissolve in rot?

Tuesday on top of the world, and Wednesday lost.

© 2022 by Amy A. DeCew, poem excerpt from book Almost Over, Never Done.

#September11th #January6th #theZagrodaBill #firstresponders #americanhealthcare #americandemocracy #rudygiulianimayorofnewyork #insurrection #indictment

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