Whose Freedom Do We Mean?
One man’s freedom to swing his arms
ends where another man’s nose begins.
Unless, of course, the alleged proboscis
is sniffing where it don’t belong --
in our business -- which is sacrosanct.
Such sniffing would be wrong!
I need not remind you, jury members,
you serve by the sufferance of the State.
We have delegated certain powers;
we expect you to accommodate.
Those freedoms defined by our Constitution
Come not within your purview.
Just watch the judge and you’ll catch on --
What’s fitting in this venue.
When you pledge allegiance to our flag,
when you swear upon the Bible,
you let us know you like our show.
Don’t make us sue for libel!
You’re free, of course, to forswear your oath,
to renege, renounce, appeal.
(If the FBI gives you the eye,
you get one free call from jail.)
Freedom is a slippery slope,
watered with patriots’ blood.
In their name, we strive to keep it pure,
and nip dissent in the bud.
Inquire not too deeply.
(Politics is a maze.)
Hold hard to right, make the good fight.
A good soldier obeys.
Capitalism built this country;
Its truth we’ll never lose.
You’re free, of course, to disagree.
We’re free to kill you when we choose.
Gary Steven Corseri's dramas have been published, and broadcast over PBS-Atlanta; his prose and poems have appeared at DissidentVoice, The New York Times, CounterPunch, CommonDreams, Village Voice, Redbook, etc. He has published two novels, two poetry collections, taught in universities and prisons, and edited the Manifestations anthology. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
Other Articles and Poems by Gary Corseri
the Empire: Metaphors for the Age