Democracy – a poem by Caridad Svich

(November 2011)
By Caridad Svich

The swelling tide of democracy
Aches the heavy bones,
As slogans are wrought in inky black
And voices echo in tones
Of shouts long heard
And shouts rung out
Free upon the wind.
Go on, my friend,
Where ever you go.
See what lies within.

For there isn’t a now
Without ten years ago,
And without twenty before that.
Remember trickle-down economic woes
And a smiling leader’s decorous spat,
As Contras raged and lies were told
At the expense of memory’s lapse?

It was again, as perhaps it is now,
A failing, struggling land,
Where poverty reigns
In majority claims,
And where a working class
Vanishes fast.

Surrender the tide of vaulting cries
Over the reedy mast.
You’ll find o’er there
In some central square
The remnants of revolutions past.

What can be said
As shopping carts
Are thrown over stores and rails,
And land upon innocent heads
And shatter innocent veils?

It’s said that hate rises again
In crimes across the land.
In boroughs lined with empty flats
And meager little hands
That reach out with guns
And knives and lead
And an occasional smile or two,
Half-wrought in pain,
Half-sought midst blame –
Convenient wreckage,
Painted blue.

For blue is the color
Of sorrow’s mane.
Without it, we’d be doomed
To write the scores
Of many laws
By necessity’s gloom.

Occupy the streets,
The slogan rings,
While tents sway in the chilly breeze
And infants nest in strollers’ breasts
And seek solace, please.

For here we are
In autumn’s muddle,
Tangled in its thorny cocoon,
As budgets get mangled
By intelligent wranglers
Who somehow can’t add
A line item or two,
Because indebted they are
To those who’ve seduced them
And those who are said to be
Through and through.

Who are these invisible wreckers?
Which flag do they hold high?
Are you now or have you ever been…?
Is that the rallying cry?

So far are we from those shady times
When blacklists and witch-hunts
Ruined lives.
How can it be that ever yet
Our present can’t surmise
The rolling shout of those gone by
The bitter, angry wails
Of shuttered doors
And sad goodbyes
Pledged on democracy’s tails?

How swift is this
Simple word
How common it has become
Does anyone remember democracy’s name
Or is it simply better
To lie and run?

Occupy this land, we shout.
And yet is that the word we want to use?
Has it all come down to terms of war?
Can our language not help but excuse
The penchant toward battle
Invasion and other such ploys?
Can we not absent our language?
From words that seek to destroy?

Gather here, the celebrant says
In some distant church
On some distant isle.

Gather us all
For our daily bread
And let our troubles recoil
At the battles raged
In word and name,
In weapon and dagger strong.

Rest now, my brethren,
Oh sleepy children
Of revolutions
Of post-consumerism’s bile.

Oh blackened day.
Oh little wars.
Rest now, your weary heads
As once sung an ancient song
Upon a pagan’s breath.

Mourn this, oh land
In celebration
Of non-occupation
At long last.
For too many lands
Are occupied still
And who is fasting their fast?

Abated hunger
Gather at the table,
Speak now of one and many
Speak of all who borrow plenty
To simply get by.

Creditors, debtors
Join hands
In the unending cycle
That makes us all
Eternally entwined
In the lender’s library
Of some god-like design.

Pity us all
In this raging mess,
In this errant lunacy
We call success.

Pity the ones
Among us now
Who raise their hands
Without knowing how,
And whisper the strength
Of a sound beyond rage
Beyond indignance ever waged
Change is a-comin,’
Said a lone song once.
Its soulful shout still rings midst the leaves,
As pieces of paper are swept up in the digital debris.

Still waiting, we are
For change to roll by
It is
As another November
Lets out a sigh.