10 November, 2008

The day of the purple dawn

Oceans roared and rid themselves
Of rubbish and debris
Moon slipped through a hole in the sky
To join her secret terrainean lover
The dog who was lost in space got homesick and
Did what all dogs do: Returned home.
And the day of the purple dawn began
Forgotten Native people migrated
To the country's sunny
Northwest border; then the tribes
And newly-forged alliances
Zig-zagged to the southeast—
They numbered in the millions
And gathered flowery cohorts as they went.
Descendents of African peoples
Vacated forty major cities and took control of
Forty parcels of farmland set aside
For their post-enslavement ancestors.
Mainstream men and women, voiceless
And dutiful,
Cast off their lower-Euro status and
Re-affirmed their civil rights.
The day of the purple dawn
Promised peace
Promoted walking
Praised carrots and beets and
Blessed all love-based marriages
The day of the purple dawn
Punished greed and
Pelted hate-words with logic,
Disdain, reason, and rebuke
The day of the purple dawn
Lasted less than one minute and was
Spread over 340 years.
On the second minute of the
Three hundred and
Forty-first year,
Oceans, embarrassed by
The return of stubs and
Bottles, went calm.
Moon returned. Round with child.
Some hope there.
The dog took off with his favorite toy
The Natives rode pickups or sedans
Back to reservations, pueblos, or casinos
Non-native sympathizers relaxed in flower-filled
Coffee shops in the lower levels of
Granite skyscrapers, black-burying
Memories of the Great Cross-Country,
Trans-cultured migration
African offshoots went back to the
Corners and walls of the Inner City
The Euro-types stayed in the pre-dawn 'burbs
Where their shot at clarity grew blurry with time,
A new war began in a tiny country whose
Leader had once told someone who told someone
That he could whip our butts if he wanted to
Greed kept the dollar strong
Truth was monitored
Hatewords divided humans and multiplied profits
Governments subsidized beef and
Beat out backyard vegetables
The gay man pretended again to be
His partner's first cousin
Students, parents, and old people
Gave and received different versions
Of what the day had been like,
The day of the purple dawn was over.

(c) Bernice Mbadugha

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