a poem for an exiled friend

In a dungeon I was born for which the key was thrown away
my life sentence cut short by insurrection, who would
have thought such a thing were possible, expect
the unexpected say the martial artists
and if not for them I would not
have survived the torture
of one regime unto
the next, they
could not
break
my spirit
no matter how hard
they tried my Namas flowed from
my lips like holy water over my broken frame
first they did it in the king’s name then in God’s
name, what kings and gods are so threatened by
a few words of a poet questioning the disparity of income
in this mighty land, a reign of terror is destined for failure for
the minute people arrive at the point where they have nothing
left to lose they lose their fear whereas lasting leadership is earned
by love and compassion so into exile I did go on the back of a donkey
as the prince of peace once entered the palm strewn path to his demise
the dictators, the imprisonment, the torture, the dogma did not break my
spirit the way that boredom has succeeded here in the land of the big PX
where no one knows your name, the double whammy anonymity and boredom
where thrill seekers with less attention span than a flea are determined to find
instant gratification in the video arcades and stare vacantly into smart phones
at cafes instead of talking to you and me, I never thought I’d die
from boredom or watch my imagination slip away while
ad after ad pummels me without mercy to buy this
or that on the road to insurmountable debt
in the middle class limbo we are all in
seduced by the promise that hard
work would have its just rewards
in the United Snakes of America
where nothing is sacred or
respected that can’t be
bought or sold so to
hell with intellect
with paranormal
with poetry
and with
anything
that makes you
uniquely you unless
you want to buy some personalized
accessories like an Otter Box in pink for
your mobile phone and don’t forget to water
your anemic philodendron in the ceramic pot
on your desk in your “open office” cell where you
can’t hear yourself think with all the cross talk from
the money saved for not providing the proper acoustics
in the tropics where philodendrons grow along the road their
leaves are the size of breakfast trays and what we call rubber plants
are three stories tall but even forests are now planted in even rows and
snow is made by machines and we pay a king’s ransom for what was once
free, $45 an hour to walk a horse, $100 a day to ski, Chilean peaches in the
dead of winter, seasons no longer defined by harvests, they call it free market
system but there is nothing free about it, they call it globalization which is a
euphemism for reducing us all to consumer units to buy mass produced
products, once a craftsman made his own musical instrument, a warrior
his own armor and weapons and feathers and paint, what is it that
you make rather than buy and what makes you an individual that
you haven’t bought or borrowed from some corporate entity’s
decision on what defines a fashion, a trend, the latest buzz
word, what a boring nation of sheep we have become

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