February 5, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Reuters photo



Ben White




State of The Union



If we look behind

The President’s words

Spinning the conditions

Of American society,

The State of the Union

Needs to be better addressed:


84% of stock-market stocks

Are owned by 10%

Of the population

So 90% of citizens

Aren’t really benefitting

From the stock-market’s

Record levels.


ISIS and Al Qaeda

Have been defeated

In the Middle East,

Yet police around the nation

Are militarized.


We have soldiers

Brave and true

Awarded Bronze Stars

With distinguishing devices

Of valor,

In a war entering

Its 17th year.


We have a policeman

Who adopted a heroin-

Addicted baby

While we have heroin-

Addicted mothers

Living in the street.


We are stopping

Immigrants from coming

Into the country

And taking low-skilled jobs

Because subconsciously, those jobs

Are what America expects

Black people to do.


We are dreamers, too

Because at the end of the day,

Dreaming is the only way

To fund hope.


There are jobs created,

But we don’t have

The expertise it takes

To be hired,

So technical training schools

Need to replace

The necessity of a voucher system

That doesn’t exist.


There is an initiative

To lower the costs

Of prescription drugs

While opioid addiction

Kills 64,000 people a year,

So at least they won’t go broke


For their habit.


We have a great,

Strong, beautiful military,

But it needs to be rebuilt

And funded for the strength

It takes to stagnate

In Afghanistan.


We have a great,

Strong, beautiful nuclear arsenal

Ready to pop off

And destroy the world,

But we need to replace

Those missiles,

So we can destroy

The world more efficiently

After we fully enjoy

The economic benefits

Of military contracts.


We have a great,

Strong, beautiful Democracy,

But it has no focus

On diplomacy,

Or education,

Or representative initiatives

By, of, or for the people

Because it is focused

On capitalism

Excluding Jeffersonian principles

For the interest

Of the elite.


We have a great,

Strong, beautiful supply

Of beautiful, clean coal,

And there are coal miners

Afraid of losing

Their way of life

Ready to dig

Their mountains hollow

So their grandchildren

Will have a hole in the ground

To crawl into for protection

Against the air they have inherited

As they gather around

And curse today’s decisions.


And there will be a great,

Strong, beautiful wall

Along the dangerous southern border

To keep Mexicans


While we keep




And xenophobic

Attitudes in.


Another president once told us,

“There is nothing wrong with America

That can’t be fixed

By what is right with America,”

But first,

We have to admit

The state of the union

In honest terms.






Ben White

Author of the books, Buddha Bastinado Blues and The Kill Gene, Ben White thought he was a poet, only to find out he is not a poet at all. He is a witness. What he writes is testimony.

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