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Saturday, June 04, 2011


by James Bettendorf

There is a sound in St. Paul
Like the tearing of heavy cloth
Where people make laws that snap
Crutches over their knees, that rip
Texts from small hands, that flatten
The tires of wheel chairs, crush
Safety glasses under their heels and
Red tipped white canes are broken
in pieces and thrown in the gutter.

There is a sound in Minnesota
Like the tearing of heavy cloth
Where angry men and women are bent
Their backs used as stepping stones
Feeling powerless in the face of money
Neighbors denied rights and
Darkness isn't dispelled
By the light of reason.

There is a sound in America
Like the tearing of heavy cloth
Where eyes of honest people
Are covered with blindfolds
Made from the flag, ears deafened
With tower babbling and knees
Bent by heavy wooden crosses
While more coal is shoveled
Into the furnaces of the wealthy.

There is a sound in the world
Like the tearing of heavy cloth

James Bettendorf is a retired math teacher and just finished a two year Poetry internship at the Loft in Minneapolis, Minn., after having taken many classes over the years.  He has been a member of various writing groups throughout the years and his work has been published in Verse Wisconsin, Rockhurst Review, and Light Quarterly.