Eric Cockrell


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!

America, America!
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.
America! America!

wake up!
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!

America!

Submitted: Wednesday, January 23, 2013

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Comments about this poem (Wake Up! (Is It Too Late?) by Eric Cockrell )

  • Freshman - 1,849 Points Kevin Patrick (3/18/2013 5:00:00 PM)

    Its never to late! as long as we hold true to our beliefs and the righoues indignition that you hold things will improve. This is one of my favourites by you and thats saying something, wise but never preachy, a trully fantastic read.
    Keep the fight coming! (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 2,441 Points Dave Walker (1/30/2013 2:11:00 PM)

    A great poem, we as people always put things off,
    so I guess it will always be too late. (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »

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