Poem: ICE storm in the desert

mage CreditL Wikicommons - wikimedia.org

ICE weighing down the roof of the house
ICE playing games of cat and mouse
A little mouse, a baby in fact
They put in a cage, there’s no coming back
Immigration Customs and Enforcement
As ruthless as ancient invading Norsemen
American heroes
Guarding our borders
Tearing sons from their fathers
And moms from their daughters
And all of them sent by a jackass who brays
Lies and malice to his minions who pray
None of them realizing it is they who will pay
For hearts that are calloused, minds brainwashed away.

So what if some of those children die without hope
There’s plenty more back under tropical suns
Fleeing drug murders fueled by our own craving for dope
And corrupt rulers propped up by Pentagon guns
“Invading hordes of criminal gangs” screams
The man in the white house from his reptilian dreams
Yes, it’s true, the “invaders” are armed—with half-empty canteen
The need to rescue their children, can we be more obscene?
And we busy with kids, jobs, and Big Little Lies
Just turn to the news with our usual sighs

But wait, what about our Democratic opposition
Who deplore the camps and their shameful conditions?
Simplistic solutions like come one and all
Won’t solve the real issues or win voters next fall
Eighteen more months of these hideous camps
Of campaign posturing under studio lamps?
Have they stood in the sun demanding an end
To this newest totalitarian bend?
Come Biden, Obama, Schumer, Pelosi!
Money for care is fine but the system’s still coasting
Defiance more fundamental is vital
You want to be “stateswomen and men” live up to the title.

Here at my keyboard or in beautiful Georgetown
It’s easy to deplore but that ain’t the lowdown
As Rep AOC said with historical accuracy
These are concentration camps imposed by malicious bureaucracy
Not death or extermination camps, no, not at all
Except for a few who through the cracks take a fall.

“As Americans” we say “we should be horrified”
But we’ve done it before, waged genocide
But at least it’s not the holocaust many have cried
But as a Jew I must say, that is quite beside
The point of horrors is not to compare
But to draw the line, thou shalt not cross here
To learn from history that once we go that direction
We grow used to small casual brutalities
Immune to the ties of human mutualities
We reckon by deals and compromise with dollars
Split hairs with the irrelevance of medieval scholars.

There are camps, filthy, unhealthy, brutal, barbed wired
Filled with shattered fragments of families, and why required?
To fulfill a human slug’s campaign mantra of race hates
That mobilized the meanest impulses of the United States
We know where they are, oh leaders who cautiously debate
Why don’t you mobilize citizens before it’s too late?
We should have tens of thousands camped out at each site
Who won’t disband till things are set right.

But it’s summer and the southwest desert, bad luck it
Can’t compete with Martha’s Vineyard, the Bay, or Nantucket
After all we’re America, always on top and if not always right
Never too wrong and besides out of sight
Is out of mind, in what can we trust?
I’m done with rhymes
But my fellow Americans, it is in our names
That our government continues
To commit its crimes.


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Barton Kunstler, Ph.D., writes about creativity, social justice, education, technology, and leadership. His book, The Hothouse Effect, describes the dynamics behind history's most creative communities. Other published work includes poetry, numerous academic articles, and fiction. His monograph for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence addresses leadership's future in light of the human singularity. He writes for www.huffingtonpost.com and his writings, including a column on communication strategy, appear at www.bartonkunstler.com. He can be reached at barleeku@comcast.net.