Fireworks can be big, noisy, beautiful.
Full of color, an explosive dance of chemical-driven artistic energy.
Such fireworks are always forward facing.
They happen with grace and beauty…
They indicate an event to celebrate
or mark a loss worthy of our mourning.
Fireworks can also be gunshots, grenades, mortars, mines and bombs.
This one close, that one far away.
Fire in front, behind, from the side.
A pop and whistle bullet to graze your face,
the exit wound on the head of your friend.
Blood splatter and concussion waves, felt.
A grenade blowing off a limb.
A promise of terror, a question of when.
Conditioning adrenal glands with randomized efficiency
Fireworks can be the enemy, surrounding me, closing in.
The difference between fireworks has nothing to do with legality.
It takes a special kind of alienating sociopathy to create–
and revel in–echoes and parodies of trauma, loss and terror
to condition the next wave of children
to the sounds they hear
to the sights they will see
as they fight for the entitled right of this society’s elite–
once removed from the pillage, plunder and rape they crave
to keep the rest of the world on retainer as a fearful slave.
To everyone who participates in turning a neighborhood into a simulated warzone: FUCK YOU.
On behalf of all soldiers with PTSD whom you terrorize: FUCK YOU.
On behalf of the dogs and cats and other animals whom you terrorize: FUCK YOU.
On behalf of my own body, fatigued and hung over from nothing more than a terrifying night spiked by fight or flight: Fuck you.
I used to say, “I hate the 4th of July.”
But I no longer blame the day
because I love every day of life. However,
I hate the ways so many behave:
The drunken entitlement of narcissistic zombies
who let loose the fearful squawk of chicken hawks
from the plush comfort of their roost.
Who give toast to another imperialist war
from those who’ve never been
to those who will never leave.
Dear elite and empty minions:
Enjoy your ‘murrica day
behind bars, or in a hospital bed
with thoughts and feelings of grief and pain that come only
with imprisoning captivity, 3rd degree burns and fewer limbs.
Life, eventually, will beat empathy back into you
reaping and serving what you have sewn
straight from the pounding hearts of your unseen victims.