i grew in the shadow

of the tales of her

the shining

mistress with open arms

who crowned the good

on streets of gold

with a chicken in every pot

a job for every man

& no child left behind

the glorious dream

called America

if you are told

you will believe


you got to love

a good hook

glory glory

bless my country

(that never was and

yet must be, deferred

adrift in politics

waiting for a paradigm


america shine light

so we may see

how blind justice is

raining only on

poor men’s houses

god only loves the

good only answers

the prayers of

those who tithe

in English or perhaps


no idealist here

we must remain practical

measure the weight of

the means after you

achieve the end

we can lie about the past

time only goes forward

(…he said when they

placed the cable in his

hand every thought of

any pleasant thing that

had ever happened to him



employed globally

who’s the terrorist

performing democracy

in print


the embodiment of  horror

bury land minds  in the soil

where cattle once grazed

the dead do not eat meat

sorrow is free

& apparently invisible

where are the eyes

where are the ears

where is joshua

(who killed the fourth estate

embedded it with lies

for advertising dollars

monopolizing compromising

the people’s right to know)

learned to pledge my allegiance

small hand over open heart

learned columbus tarzan

john wayne cold  war

bomb shelters chemical war

dirty reds gooks wetbacks

before I knew that

they had a name for me too

in america where

the fires of the world

are fanned with flags

we kill with culture

progress can be lethal

materialism can cause blindness

too much can make you deaf

patriotism can make you dumb

side effects or main directives

performed like devotions

to tyrants posing as god

(and depleted uranium is a

weapon that keeps on killing

silently in sand that blows

into noses slides down throats

into bowels exploding into

uteruses killing into the future

bleeding fetuses on to floors in

minnesota better to shoot blanks

murder is murder is murder)

who will render the criminals

who identify terrorist

while they themselves

in fine sounding language

distort murder with bunting

and anthems while cemeteries

overflow and morticians grow

fat and buy stock in a  future

that has no chance

if the present has

no eyes no ears no courage

(he didn’t go into the army

cause he believed the myth I

swallowed he was hooked by

different fish poverty

was his moby dick he was

under obligation to lift the

anchor still hanging from the ship)

if the world is composed

of words then god has

stopped talking

because the deaf have

only bags of want

they have forgotten

the sound of children

laughing because the

sun is shining

gone is all but

the scent of naked loss

keened in quiet laments

and etched by poets

on scraps of longing

they are afraid to read

at coffee houses full

of blind liberals who

are secret republicans

rabid democrats

neo communist

voting independent

color blind philanthropist

recovering atheist

practicing buddhist

living green

leaving no foot print

100 per cent organic

& deaf & dumb

(when they put him

in the small cell he

thought they would

realize their mistake

soon and let him go)

we live lies

enact illusions

we are not safe

we are not free

not even enough

to open our eyes

(…he said he will never

feel safe again)

we do not trust


we have given away

our courage

our belief in the possibility

that the dream was supposed

to mean what we thought it

meant someone raise the flag

and thump a bible here

(he said he knows something

he wants not to know

he has seen how the lie

is stitched with human

thread he has looked

evil in the eye and seen

its human pulse and he is

afraid forever)

so we keep our eyes closed

so we can re-member to the

old tunes from  gone  never

really here just historized

days like recreated/aborted

Camelot’s shot with dreams of

change we are afraid to

make praying messiahs we

will crucify refusing to see

ourselves as the murders

until we are among the

murdered the rubble of

our blind deafness is

still not a roadmap

we want change

but we won’t change

(he is home from the

cell the gulag the prison

the army the nightmare

of escape has come true

he is  home  but will

never see the same

he can hear the pain

he can hear the pain

he talks but it’s hard

to listen)

in the distance the

band is playing

and fees are extracted

the future needs

ears today

tomorrow may not

come without eyes today

when bellies need rice

water is being sold

scared forest are dying

ice caps are melting

and capitalism needs

a heart transplant

& all of your blood

so that the grandchildren of

bankers can go to

private schools

(he walks at night

waiting listening

he can hear the pain

drowning everything

roaring like a thousand

rivers driven by a wanton

wind mumbling in the darkest

part of his bruised soul like

a million angry voices)

we need to understand

we are the wind

(he is coming undone

bullets in the chamber

we are not safe

no safety

he can hear the pain

roaring like a thousand rivers)

we must remember

we must be the river

(lies parentheses margins

boundaries crossed

he can hear the pain

like voices in his night)

where is Joshua

where are a million

angry voices

demanding light

we are the missing voices

we are creators of nothing

if we cannot accept the

pain we have allowed

to dance in our name

across the globe

(he can hear the pain)

America, America

where is joshua

who re-members

(the pain)


who renders thee?

© ws 1/01/09

*   *   *   *   *

Extraordinary rendition in practice:

The opaque and confidential nature of the CIA’s covert program of extraordinary rendition… Vice President Dick Cheney has said that when dealing with terrorism, “We’re operating through sort of, you know, a dark side.”

The extraordinary rendition program sends suspects to countries with atrocious human rights records, such as Egypt and Syria, both of which have been consistently cited in US State Department reports for using torture. As early as 1994, the State Department concluded that in Egypt, “torture is used to extract information. . . . Detainees are frequently stripped to their underwear; hung by their wrists with their feet touching the floor or forced to stand for prolonged periods; doused with hot and cold water; beaten; forced to stand outdoors in cold weather, and subjected to electric shocks.”

These findings have been verified each year in the State Department’s annual reports. Principal methods of torture and abuse included stripping and blindfolding victims; beating victims with fists, whips, metal rods, or other objects; using electric shocks; and sexual abuse, including sodomy.

Some victims, including women and children, reported sexual assaults or threats of rape against themselves or family members. Human rights groups and the media have documented numerous cases of torture: documented more than 567 cases of torture inside police stations, including 167 deaths that the organization concluded were caused by torture and mistreatment.

Rendition: the act of interpreting something as expressed in an artistic performance

In law, rendition is a “surrender” or “handing over” of persons or property, particularly from one jurisdiction to another.

About Ayodele Nzinga, MFA, PhD

I create; therefore I am.
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