Wake Up! (Is It Too Late?)
from Selma to Stonewall...
from socialists to McCarthy.
from Hoover to King,
and bullets with faces.
from Jamestown to Vietnam,
from the Black Hills to the reservation...
from Kent State to the Gulf,
from the coal mines to the oil rigs.
from the farms to the factories,
from Africans and rogue Irish...
from migrant workers to the prisoners,
from the unemployment line to the soup kitchen.
from Harlem to Montgomery to Pittsburgh,
from Charlotte to L.A. to Washington.
from the slaves to the unions,
from Prohibition to the War On Drugs.
from the cotton mills to the cellphones,
from the Bill Of Rights to Big Brother....
this is America.
do our fathers' fathers mourn through the night?
do not our mothers' mothers weep by the grave?
in the name of god our gods have fallen,
with napalm smeared faces lost in the darkness.
whose hand on the wheel?
another runaway train?
the trinkets of freedom sold for change?
numbed by the faceless,
they stand in line for a plate...
filled with the flesh of their own children!
take away their books,
in the name of graven images.
take away their thoughts,
for the thump and the sound.
take away their hearts,
for the pill and the blade.
take away their souls,
in the name of religion.
ah, but this is America!
the alley and the field.
both the fire and the streets,
the family and the lost.
church bells are ringing,
the air full of smoke.
another baby born,
another found in a dumpster.
the farmhouses left empty,
the schoolrooms filled with noise.
the politician speaks, the preacher farts.
pimps lick their lips, gangs swallow hope.
while hatred sickens both the crow and the rat!
yes, America, land of the free!
built on the bones of Indians martyred.
put your thinkers behind bars,
or better yet in institutions...
bury your poets in gasoline graves!
America, America, your masses groan.
hard callouses and harder penises...
and wombs hidden behind doors.
in anger your workers,
swell and pound the shores...
while thieves carry guns,
and demons sell souls!
your young have forgotten,
or perhaps never knew...
and your old are forgotten,
as if they never were.
your flag is on fire,
while bats hang from the rafters.
and dogs run the night,
looking for shelter!
Chavez and the Kennedys...
Whitman moans, and Crazy Horse howls.
while the ghost of Jefferson,
haunts the sleepless night...
and FDR shudders,
in the last empty room.
Malcolm stands angry by the door,
as Steinbeck's grave is defiled.
as Woody's voice shatters windows,
as the hammer strikes the nail.
is it too late?
listen to the mockingbird,
listen to the wind!
listen to the cries,
of bodies carrying burdens.
listen to the sound,
of your own hearts beating!
Eric Cockrell's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (Wake Up! (Is It Too Late?) by Eric Cockrell )
Still I Rise
The Road Not Taken
If You Forget Me
Edgar Allan Poe
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
A Dream Within A Dream
Edgar Allan Poe
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936)
(28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827)
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Dreams, Langston Hughes
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- If, Rudyard Kipling
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
- Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
- A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
- Fire and Ice, Robert Frost