4 July 2007

a day off
to celebrate
the nation’s
independence
our rejection of
kings and taxes
a culmination
of tossed tea
local militias
dead redcoats
bickering politicians
inspiring revolutions
‘round the world
and today
we celebrate
with explosions
that paint light
and pictures
on the night sky
and barbecues
and John Philip Sousa
and Neal Diamond
and a stolen British
drinking song
so wear your
red white and blue
even if
like me
you are not feeling
part of some grand tradition
instead
I am annoyed
by too many people
crowding streets and subway
too many people
shouting into cell phones
“I don’t know where I am
Wabash and something”
while I just want
to buy cat food
and walk home
and I find myself wishing
it would rain on
all their lovely fireworks
wash all the people
into the lake
where they might drown
or float to Michigan
and in the past
perhaps
I welcomed
this midsummer milestone
but my memories
are so bittersweet
and this July day
is a reminder of more
than stars and stripes
and a nation’s
independence
but also a reminder
of my own

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