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Monday, September 12, 2016


by Joe Amaral 

“He’s winning this. His critics are losing. We’re better for it.” —Tim Kawakami, The (San Jose) Mercury News, September 7, 2016. KHARTOON! by Khalid.

                                                for Colin Kaepernick

They sack their own hypocritical souls,
judging a biracial man sitting down between
Gatorade coolers, bench warmer, while
standing in safe zones chanting anthems.

Character assassinating a person-
hostile when their comfortable tedium
is knelt upon during an incomplete poem,
overheated, entwined in symbolic confliction.

Dislodged from routine surroundings, habits
of public conformity become glare and troll;
despite loafing when the flag waves on private
TV: bloviating from couches about abstract duty.

In my Catholic days I swung suffocating incense
before hearing the priest who married my parents
molested little boys. We spurned the cross in peace.
Pleas from true patriots are treated with violence.

Some only meme, righteous as sacramental fire
while buying foreign cars, clothes and smartphones
made by slave labor, then pout: THANKS OBAMA!
Colin audibles brave; to Hail Mary the fallow loam

of this country, as American as freedom can be, calling
to the knee-jerks and neutrals, even to the haters,
for a healing conversation amongst culpable toxicity—
warming a bench for enemies to connect, sit,
and see.

Joe Amaral likes to spelunk around the California central coast as a paramedic and stay-at-home dad. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in 3Elements Review, Arcadia Magazine, Crow Hollow 19, Writers of the Portuguese Diaspora, Zingara Poet and other awesome places. Joe won the 2014 Ingrid Reti Literary Award. He also hiked Mount Kilimanjaro. It was epic.