Thursday, August 17, 2017

Charleston poet laureate Marcus Amaker's new poem takes on Confederate monuments

"History cannot rewrite itself, but you can"

Posted by Connelly Hardaway on Thu, Aug 17, 2017 at 10:45 AM

  • Youtube/screenshot
Today Charleston's first poet laureate, Marcus Amaker, released a poem, "Stagnation (a letter 2 America." "I started this poem a few months ago after a visit to Savannah. I kept thinking about our country's obsession with war," says Amaker. "It's a dangerous fetish."

The poem comes at a fitting time, after this past weekend's events in Charlottesville, and last night's rally to take down the Calhoun statue in Marion Square.

Read the poem below, or listen to Amaker recite it in this video:

America has built
too many monuments to war.
Man-made maladies
mounted on Mother Earth.
I’ve seen scars on the skin
of our country’s landscape –
blood-stained band aids
covering exposed bones;
a pain that has not healed.

We hold hatred high
on pedestals
in the name of history.
Bird are perched
on the shoulders of ghosts
God’s perfect, clear byline
as endless skylines of smoke
and division
get played out on television.

this. is. real.

your fetish for warfare
has erected stagnant symbols
of oppression.
Some of your people
are just now awakening
to the discomfort
of the disenfranchised.
Your body has been
blemished by Southern battlegrounds,
bound to a history of violence.

this. is. real.

No statue’s spirit
will wake up to apologize,
but you can.
No system rooted
in racism
will ever empathize,
but you can.
History can not
re-write itself,
but you can.

Simply tell us the truth.

Carve out stones
for freedom fighters,
do more to preserve and promote
the feminine.

Rip off the bandages
without ignoring your bondage.

It’s going to hurt.

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