07.04.2019
Weekly poem on Trump Presidency

 

MATTHEW LIPPMAN

Independence Please

It’s not the 4th of July
but it wants to be.
I can feel it in the sky and trees.
They’re putting down their forks and cups,
they’re saying, Independence please.
They want it so bad
it leaks out of their cloud pores and their bark sockets--
the oak and the cumulus,
the willow and cirrus.

 We’ll forgo the beer and brats, they say.
Those fireworks.
Enough with the violence.
We just want to roam and ramble, to cavort and caravan.
Across any state line.
Between the border of this
and the stigma of that.

I feel bad for them. We all do.
Or, maybe not all of us
but certainly some.
I mean, come on, all that life from above.
Why stop that beauty from coming
across the bridge?
The rain the light, the green and blue.
It’s a festival of colors and air
to keep us dancing and messing up.

Hey, they say, we’d like to put on “Casino Boogie” and boogie
our deciduous butts off,
our maple leaf rags,
but these fence posts keep getting in the way.
Can you help us with them?
We’d like to rain down on those endless plains and freeways
with no traffic;
we’d even like if you cut us down to make more paper
so you might write your love letters.
Remember love letters,
the ones you penned to your beloved
five states over
that crossed the border
as if there were no border?

Please, just a little independence today, right now, to welcome us.
Who needs the 4th of July.
We’ll take August, October, a cold day in February
over any river dressed in camouflage, cocked rifle
ready to fire.

It’s not the 4th of July
but it wants to be.
It needs our help.
Hold on just a little bit longer,
we say to the sky and trees,
and they do. 

They hold on so hard
the entire earth burns a hole in our chests so big
the rockets have nowhere to go,
the rockets red glare.

Matthew Lippman is the founder and editor of Love’s Executive Order. This is his annual 4th of July poem. His manuscript, Mesmerizingly Sadly Beautiful, won the 2018 Levis Prize and will be published by Four Way Books in 2020.

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