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Pledge

By , Mount Hood/ Parkdale, OR
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.”
Those words have been recited so many times
that they have less meaning to me
than the illegible graffiti on the side of train car covering up
the words “Union Pacific.”

I pledge allegiance to the—
My senator walks by a Vietnam veteran, hears his
requests for a little change, and drops a dime in his crumpled coffee cup.
He then hurries towards his office so he can make phone calls
to his corporate sponsors and tell them how big their dicks are.
I run up and ask him,
“Sir, how can you be so inconsiderate?”
And he gives his automated response of handing me a promise
scribbled with fountain pen on a sticky note.
I stuff it in my pocket along with crumpled receipt from Walmart,
and eventually lose it. Likely, in the washing machine.

I pledge allegiance—
Pledge is not synonymous with
“I will follow you blindly as you drag me by my three year old, hand-me-down, held
together by duct tape, boots into
yet another pointless war over some decomposed dinosaurs buried in sand.”

I pledge—
Walt Whitman had it wrong.
See, America’s song is sung,
leaving me in an empty cathedral
listening to the reverberation of a deceptive cadence,
waiting for a harmonic resolution that does not arrive.
Everyone has left the pews either in disappointment
or because they are convinced by the pathetic illusion that
these verses are being sung in infinite continuum.
But I am waiting for the day that the next movement of
this beautiful piece
will be performed.
I am waiting for the day that our leaders will realize
that our money is better spent
in supply boxes of our teachers than in ammunition clips of our soldiers.
I am waiting for the day that I can hear the sound of my guitar
over the presidential debates covering such insignificant topics as pornography.
I am waiting for the day that my senator realizes that the Vietnam veteran
was not asking for coins, he was asking for change!
I refuse to pledge allegiance!
I will prove allegiance.
And I will prove allegiance even if it means that
I have to stand up from the pews,
walk up to the risers
and sing America’s song myself.

I will wait no longer.





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