Gerald L. Coleman

star spangled

my legs
are not weak
they do not shake
or tremble
they are as strong
as my grandmother’s back
bowed but not broken
ironing white people's clothes
in her room
in the attic

my ears
are not plugged with cotton
the sound of injustice
is not drowned out
by beats and rhymes
i hear your drums
your fifes
the ratta tat tat
of your egregious
though they do ring
from the sound of gunfire
and the shouts of
all lives

my eyes
are not shrouded
by a red, white, and blue
made from american
sweatshop fabric
purchased at hobby lobby
they are not covered in scales
i can see your wanton abandon
your sacred cows
fattened on genetically modified
i am not lost
in the antilles
of your fragile emotions
searching for a compromise
between the two souls
of a native not native son
though why you are worried
about an invisible man
you refuse to see
puzzles me

your bugle sounds
your flag waves
with the crisp snap
of a coffin cover
your masses throng
as they always have
blindly obedient
to a nonexistent manifesticated
rendering a pledge
to a body politic
suffering from dysmorphia
worshipping an idol
seen only as a reflection
in a funhouse mirror
stained with blood
being interpreted
by minds drenched
in privilege like its
a natural hormone
secreted by whiteness glands
high on delusion
from sniffing indulgence
with rolled up hundreds
lost to the ravages
of a star-spangled alzheimer's
you have refused
to have diagnosed
or treated

because you have to want
to get well
which would require
remembering your sins
the ones the rest of us
have to live with

my legs
are not weak
is my soul
it is tired
which is why
i will not
for your fucking anthem

Gerald L. Coleman is a Philosopher, Theologian, Poet, and Author residing in Atlanta. Born in Lexington, he did his undergraduate work in Philosophy and English at the University of Kentucky. He followed that by completing a degree in Religious Studies followed by a Master's degree in Theology at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville. His most recent work appears in, Pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture, Drawn To Marvel: Poems From The Comic Books, and Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel. He is a speculative fiction author with stories published in the Science Fiction, Cyberfunk, Anthology: The City and the Rococoa Anthology by Roaring Lion. He is the author of the Epic Fantasy novel When Night Falls: Book One of The Three Gifts. He is a co-founder of the Affrilachian Poets and has recently released two collections of poetry entitled the road is long and falling to earth. You can find him at