February 19, 2019 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Reuters photo



Ben White




Declare an Emergency



Sorry, California,

We can’t help you

With your post-fire flooding –

There are women and children

At the border

We need to rip apart,

With a heart set

On humanitarianism

Which is better than due process,

So clean up the mudslide mess,

And don’t expect any help

From the laborers we are excluding; –

Even though they could and would

Help you shovel,

But that would only

Take opportunities away from you,

Because now that you don’t have houses,

At least you have a job to do…


And sorry, Puerto Rico,

We know you are still without

Your infrastructure, fresh water

And electricity, but you should

Be glad to have your citizenship,

Because the money we’ve uncovered

Is earmarked

For a fantasy surrounding security

To keep Spanish-speakers

From crossing the border

And talk bad about us

Without us

Being able to comprende,

Tu comprende?


And sorry, military families,

America needs

Your service-member

Family members –

Finally home from overseas –

To deploy to the border,

Roll out concertina wire,

Maybe dig some trenches

And deploy some other

Low-tech World War I tactics,

But relax,

You will be so busy

Scrubbing the mold

Out of your base-housing bathrooms,

Spraying Bug-B-Gone

On your insect-infested kitchens,

And chasing the rats

Away from the baby’s crib,

You won’t have time

To miss your mobilized

Loved ones,

Who, by the way,

We want to

Thank for their service…


And sorry, America,

You are under an emergency,

So turn your lights

To black-out conditions,

And head to the bomb shelter,

Or a hollowed-out coal mountain –

Not against an attack,

But against the fear

Creeping through

The home of the brave

With the absolute ignorance

It takes

For your McConnells

And your Grahams

To represent who they choose

As they lose their way,

And get talked into playing

Complacent games

Of their own personal,

Political profit –


Sorry, everybody –

We’ve found the money

To be wasted…


And it’s yours.






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.

Editor review


No Comments Yet!

You can be first to comment this post!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.