America cannot wait for a message of some sort or another (a poem)

Using the Poets & Writers prompt to write a cento, which it describes as ‘a form of fragmented poetry…consisting of lines taken from poems written by other poets.’

This poem references Brian Eno & David Byrne’s ‘America Is Waiting’, The Clash’s ‘Know Your Rights’, George Michael’s ‘Freedom 90’, The Style Council’s ‘Walls Come Tumbling Down’, Martha & The Vandellas’ ‘Dancing in the Streets’, and It’s a Wonderful Life.

I haven’t seen
any citizen
stand up and say

‘hey, just a minute’

without being smacked back in line
by those pushing back
against everything they say we stand for

by those without honor
by those without integrity

Some of us
know all three of our rights

We’re not giving them up now

Some of us
believe in freedom

and that you’ve got to give back
for everything you take

We’re not going back now
we’re not taking it again

We do most of the living and working and dying in this town

We will be heard
We will not be denied

The struggle is real
not mythologized

There will be dancing in the streets
in every city—in every town

until the walls
they seem hell-bent on building
come tumbling down

(14 January 2017)


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