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Another Fourth of July....America

Being an American abroad, I have gained and furthered my perspective on what it is to be an American, on what freedom means. Those words themselves, American and freedom, are such big concepts, such big ideas, not just in the States, but everywhere.

But, as another Fourth of July (American Independence Day) goes by once again, I question more and more the validity of these concepts, the validity of what they truly mean to certain people and groups.

Because the fact is, not all Americans actually want freedom for all people. There are so many throughout the States that don't give a damn about people that are homeless, impoverished or hungry. They don't care about people of color, the LGBTQ community or immigrants. The list goes on and on....

These toxic Americans don't actually believe that the word "American" or "freedom" should apply to some of these groups.

Some people have incredible optimism about the future, about change for good in the States. But myself, I'm not so sure....

All I know is that until ALL can have freedom, ALL can be treated equally, ALL can be treated with dignity, ALL can have access to affordable healthcare, affordable food, affordable education, affordable housing, then nothing will truly change....I hope that I can be proven day.

(Side note - This poem is inspired by my own homeless schizophrenic brother)

He stands on the corner

He looks down the street

Sweet smells arising

So much cooked meat

Hot dogs and tri tip

Steaks and husked corn

Aromas inhaled deep

Memories now born

He closes his eyes

He licks his dry lips

He imagines the tastes

The memories do grip

He walks through the park

Families gather about

Shiny Sparklers in hand

Fireworks all fly out

The night they do brand

Shine light on his shirt

Fabric filthy and torn

Pants ragged with dirt

Red lights and blue ones

Pop bright up on high

Shine light on bare feet

No shoes are nearby

His dirty beard contrasts

With such pristine sheets

That families do sit on

As they laugh and they eat

He hears the band playing

Music marching in time

Great songs of freedom

To him they remind

A time he was well

A time of no pain

No voices inside

No trauma, no strain

A time of no hunger

As his stomach now pleads

No illness, no doubt

He had so few needs

His memory now serves him

It reminds him today

He saw it so clearly

This day they do say

They call it the Fourth

It’s America’s way

He saw it before him

Such freedom, so bright

But the man he is now

So full of blight

Only knows of his present

Only sees just the night...

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