Walking Man

The sidewalk loosely guides us

as we drone along on autopilot

gliding between building and street

building and street

building and street

until the sound of honking horns

overpowers our headphones

and we see red hands

prompting us to stop

and for a moment we’re briefly aware of the world

that exists beyond

our fingers and thumbs

until the walking man comes back

and again we distract ourselves with our cellphones

that are miles away from just ringtones and phone calls

and nearly all those we walk past

wouldn’t cast a glance at us,

even if they weren’t staring at a screen

and we would both act shocked

if the other said ‘hello’

we would ignore them

since we have somewhere important to go

and we’re distracted,

minds drifting

shifting gears as we scroll

and this is important

and that is important

and I’m important

and my cellphones is important

and my job is important

and my cat is important

and low-fat is important

and this and that are important

and gluten-free is important

and TV is important

and it’s important I make it to that local corporate coffee shop

before I get to work

they have one on every block

between here and the office…

and the horn honks

and the red hand demands we stop again…

And we can stop pretending that we care

saying, ‘it’s not my fault the worlds not fair,

I pay my fair share to society’

through our cellphone screen we cannot see

that we pay for massive inequality

we pay for the bombs that drop out of sight

on helpless people we have no right to kill

we might say, ‘that’s terrible’

but we pay for it still,

shrugging, ‘but it’s God’s will…’

and all of our hands have long been red

but we never stop to count the dead

the collateral damage

the black

the brown

dying in far off lands

and in New York town…

and you’re having a hard time

trapped on the sidewalk

but the walking man is back again

and coffee black again

and bomb Iraq again

and we’re off track again

and Eden burns

and Syria learns

lessons in democracy

that they don’t show you on your TV

and the student learns nothing

from the teacher

and Dr. King wasn’t just a preacher

he preached against war

and violence

and fifty years ago April 4th

he said it was time

to break the silence

but exactly one year later

he was silenced

the dream was already becoming a nightmare then

and today, we don’t dare speak up

we shrug as April 15th creeps up

and we go to Turbotax or H & R Block

and we follow the flock

and just a few more blocks

until we trade more stock

and we buy sticks and stones

and we buy tanks and drones

and raw materials for these cellphones

and we break hearts and bones

but we’re paying off our student loans

and yes I know where our taxes go

but I can’t change how the winds may blow

though the the truth may glow like a lightbulb

in front of me

this cellphone screen

is all I see

think it makes us free

but we lose the ‘we’…

the red hand rises

we’re the ones who bleed

we gasp for air now

consumed with fear and greed

by wolves we pay to lead

and they will always feed

on both you and me

and we start to see

but we avert our eyes

as we pay to level villages

and silence cries

we’d rather just get drunk on reassuring lies

and we adjust our ties and walk into work

while blood drips from our coffee cup

and cracked i-Phone…


Bless me father, I have sinned

and now I must atone

but religion’s not the answer

and I cannot condone

such narrow minded thinking

please open up your eyes

we don’t even care

when the baby Jesus dies

we kill him everyday

just like the Romans did

we found Pandora’s box

and we threw away the lid

and they hid and hide the truth

about why we drop our bombs

yes, we pay our taxes

but on Sundays we sing psalms

and it calms us when we take these pills

and eat this bread

the circus is perpetual

ignore the dead

until the newsman tells us

that we should be sad

then it’s bombs away

we wave our flags

and fuck Baghdad

or wherever else

they tell us that we need to bomb…

but that wasn’t collateral damage

it was someone’s mom

sister, daughter, brother, father,

and someone’s son

someone’s grandmother

and grandfather,

what have we done?

and we keep doing it


and all they have to say is

‘freedom isn’t free’.

When we disagree, they yell

‘unlawful assembly!’

then haul us off to jail

to make us try to see

that ignorance is bliss

and Uncle Sam is right…

you are property,

we own you

please don’t try to fight

we tell you when to stop

and tell you when to go

watch your TV

it will tell you

all you need to know

and the circuses will help your hands

stay pearly white

while keeping civilian death tolls

out of mind and sight.

Please have a beer at night

or two, or three, or four

and then you’ll forget

that we’re still at war

even though your cousin’s on her 7th tour

and she’ll no doubt have more

because of endless war.

You may sleep fine at night

but both your hands are red

and your soul will not be saved

by all those lies you’re fed

it’s not just that you’re silent

but that you pay for war

and all it is begetting is a lot more war

and we all lock our doors

and we all drink our Coors

but the walking man is gone now

we’re stuck with Babylon’s whore

though she is not a woman

just an orange man

who takes over

fifteen years into Afghanistan

and cheers come from his subjects

as he bombs Assad

helping ISIS,

are you kidding me?

No, there is no God.

The Sermon on the Mount

was preached by mortal man

there is no God to save us

but if we all try, we can.

Lets stop waiting for miracles

to come our way

and stop waiting on saviors

bound to save the day

no use to hope and pray.

There’ll be a brighter day

with no more jars of clay

when we stop funding war

and let the children play.











About soitgoes1984

I live on a small island in the middle of the Pacific ocean in the Hawaiian Kingdom which is currently illegally occupied by the American government. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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