these lines don't mean

from by Hey Predator!

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pride hung up on abstract clothesline vertices;
paint poured onto masses unsuspecting.
disembodied megaphones sing tribal songs all-the-day subliminally
until we all hum like machines in our sleep,
dreaming in the shadow of flags.

(said flags caught in a forced, frantic wave.)

every mountain’s mounted by a name brand king
spouting off slogans all selling the same thing:
“sing this song! raise this flag! believe in this history!”

how did all these lines get drawn?
where did these strange words come from?
what do these great states denote
but thick fault lines of separateness?

let them sell their songs. we don’t have to dance.

“wait, i thought this was america?
where the corporations are people
and the people are just stats and graphs?
what’s this mass without its sobriquet?
what are we supposed to believe in now?”

we’ve been hawked these anthems
since the first days we breathed;
learned all the lines that made up the maps,
memorized all these melodies.
and though our voices sound great
when we pitch harmonies,
there’s not a song in the world that could make me feel
more american than human being.
worship what you will– it means little to me–
but if you worship these lines,
then know these lines don’t mean.
these lines don’t mean.


from foxholes and atheists and so forth., released October 30, 2010




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