Cracked Pot on a Broken Road

(with a nod to the timeless fable and
apologies to Leonard Cohen, Rascal Flatts, and Joan Baez)

Democracy, your waterbearers’ burden
is woefully unbalanced as the schemes
of lords and ladies on the hill have hoarded
the vessel that contains our common dreams.

It may appear America is leaking
the essence of the best it might have been,
but “there’s a crack in everything”. A trickle
can nurture hope, “that’s how the light gets in”.

Your promise of equality and freedom
for all has languished in the hands of few
for centuries. We’re ready for our blessing,
“the broken road that leads (us) straight to you”.

As trampled seeds of progress line the shoulders
along the path, replenishment relies
on sharing distribution of the bounty
that longs to shower down from cloudless skies.

Let sunshine pierce the depths of every crevice
and justice flow like water to replace
the field of opposition in obstructing
“the president (who) sang Amazing Grace”.

2021 Mary Boren
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Trading Races

“When you have only ever experienced privilege, equality feels like oppression.” ― Adam Rutherford

Here’s Karen, captured from a foreign realm,
stacked in a leaky vessel through a storm
where all the crew, from cargo hold to helm,
were black and bold, the undisputed norm.

She’s told to buckle down and never whine
about the weight of sorrow on her back
from stolen heritage. “What’s yours is mine,”
they say, “we’ve set you on an equal track.”

But drowning in an ocean fraught with tears
or stranded in a desert parched with thirst,
the vestige of oppression through the years
can never fade until the tide’s reversed.

Why should it threaten them if she demands
a sign that someone sees and understands?

2020 Mary Boren
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Reap the Whirlwind

“My daddy changed the world.” Gianna Floyd,
at only six, already understands
that something monumental has occurred.
She joins the ranks of children left to bear
the burden of a murderous design
infused into the bedrock of our nation.

Four hundred years of history reveal
the willful subjugation of a line
of people who, despite the barricades,
survive in force to raise a mighty roar
that shatters all illusion. We must stand
in truth to finalize emancipation.

No longer will the platitudes suffice
nor “thoughts and prayers” assuage an open wound.
The time for reckoning is NOW, the day
will soon give way to dusk, the moment lost
forever if denial perseveres.
The case demands authentic reparation.


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2020 Mary Boren
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