Sunday, December 24, 2006


James Robert Smith

My father told me
that our government
had been wrong.
That it has committed
vast crimes:
Murders, genocides,
destruction without
Men and women and
slaughtered because they
lived here first.
Men and women and
enslaved and tortured
because they were
not white.
Forests cut, leveled,
slashed and burned.
Rivers dammed,
dirtied, polluted to death.
Creatures of wood,
and hill, desert and plain,
laid waste.
All these things he
told me,
while schools
and radio
and television
and comic books
told me America
is good, and great,
and beloved of God.
I grew,
pulled by two
versions of America;
one dark and bloody,
one bright and gaudy.
I grew,
and read,
and watched,
and listened,
and compared.
And I tell you,
you who will
Mark Smith
was right.
America murdered
men, and women, and babies
because they were here
America enslaved
and tortured
men, and women, and babies
because they were not
America did, indeed, level vast
polluted great, clear, clean
rivers and lakes;
gutted the forests and plains
and hills of our
wild heritage.
America, listen:
My father,
your son,
knew you well.

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