All Right

There is mourning in America, all right.
Curses and slurs and the speech of red-faced hate
dominate the broadcasts that appear on our television
screens, large and immense black rectangles hung
on small walls, the beer cans and whiskey bottles piled
high beside the old couches covered with blankets and
white sheets. The images, sharp and well-defined,
alter the reality of minds muddled beyond redemption.
They keep their shotguns loaded with shells and their
handguns ready for the promised battles.

All right.

Assassination is on the lips of all cruel men and women.
Their well tailored shapes and bright colored clothes
spout “the word” to their followers. Deluded prophets,
hustling preachers, they bandy ill will and self-anoint
themselves in the oil of imagined persecution. They worship
the word that gives a face to their enemies, boasting
of the violence to come, raging in their righteous glory.
The spittle their vitriol produces dribbles out and dirties
every public place where the batons and arms of the men
in black bloody the innocents for their entertainment.

All right.

There is killing by America, and torture, and all manner
of desecration of the bodies and souls of those targeted
for reasons only the elites can elucidate without shame.
The rest of us are told what to think and spied upon
and attacked by minions who serve the powerful
if our thoughts do not match the approved message,
missives always subject to change at any moment. In return
for our compliance we are praised even as our hearts
and futures are stolen from us, and we are told that this is

All right.

For goodness and mercy have lost their way and death
is the new rallying cry. Our God, who we must acknowledge
and obey, is a fearful presence, and each day we are taught
to fear him, his rod and his staff and the furious anger of those
who do his works. No blessings remain for the weak or the poor
in spirit or otherwise, for this Lord recognizes only dominion
and respect for those created in his image, rewarding only
the tigers of our jungle society, who if we are lucky will allow us
to live long enough to be plucked naked, equal to the roast goose
whose flesh is picked clean off its bones and devoured.

All right.

This is the new gospel and it is well we should remember it,
accepting its blessings, meager though they be, for the world
has changed. Can’t you smell it, my brother? Can’t you hear it,
my sister? We are the appointed lesser beings who must serve
our masters and accept whatever crumbs fall from their tables
and love them for their generosity. For if we cannot, the spirit
of the age demands a sacrifice, and the knife wielders will call it

All right.

Tara Birch formerly practiced as an attorney. She is married with two children, and she is working on a couple of novels while writing poetry. Tara has worked as a taxi driver, among other jobs. She is a part of the Outlaw Poetry Network, which can be found at

–Tara Birch





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