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Monday, October 04, 2021


by Robert Knox

via Demcast

Walt Whitman heard ‘America Singing’
I’m hearing things as well,
some of them sadly off-key.
In Texas those who run the place
like the last rodeo of the unforgiven
want to make voting hard to do
for those who have already run the obstacle course
     of history,
returning the privilege of suffrage to a comfortable,
white-sheeted nightmare 
from back somewhere before the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
We once stayed (in our day; not Walt’s, not King’s)
in Florida, next to the motel where they poisoned the pool
to keep those they did not wish to see at the polls
out of their purely chlorinated water as well.
Everybody out of the pool! 
and nobody at the polls.
‘Some better day,’ as we so often say, we will look back
shaking our heads in horror
at what our fellow Americans got up to.
Sorry, sun-sick Florida, hypocritical Texas,
I am voting you out of the club.
Fly the battle flags of your disgrace all you want,
but you are no longer part of my America.

Robert Knox is a poet, fiction writer, and Boston Globe correspondent. As a contributing editor for the online poetry journal Verse-Virtual, his poems appear regularly on that site. They have also appeared in journals such as The American Journal of Poetry, Eunoia Review, and Unlikely Stories. His poetry chapbook Gardeners Do It With Their Hands Dirty was nominated for a Massachusetts Best Book award. He is the winner of the 2019 Anita McAndrews Poetry Award.