Poetry: ON DEMOCRACY 2020


“Say yes to Emily Dickinson, Herman Melville, Buster Keaton
Hank Williams, Roy Orbison, Patsy Cline, Robert Crumb.
Say yes to fear, no to despair.
Say no at last to hatred, to injustice
yes to the juices of love.
Say yes at last to Walt Whitman, yes to yawp
yes to the blast of language
yes to the blooming word.
yes to the smackwarm drug of poetry, yes to love.”

On Democracy by David Starnes

Say no to Jim Crow and Jim Jones, 
say no to “the kool-aid,” yes to Live-Aide; 
No to Alex Jones, yes to Joan of Arc.
Yes to the smooth, silky, seduction of Soul, yes to love.
Say no to Pat Robertson, yes to Patti Smith, no to The 700 Club but yes to the Breakfast Club
Yes to Mrs. Robinson, Dustin Hoffman, The Graduate
No to Roger Ailes, yes to Mr. Rogers. 
Say yes to neighbors, yes to community.

Say no to Eugenics, no to white-nationalism, 
yes to patriotism.
Say no to Scientology, no to Christian Science, 
yes to biology, ecology, and evolution.

Say no to Donald Trump, yes to Donald Duck for President.
Say no to Ted Cruz and Ted Kennedy. Yes to TED Talks.
Say no to George H, and W., 
yes to George R.R. Martin and Westeros. 
No to gaming thrones, yes to Game of Thrones.
Say no to war, to oil, to Saddam, and regime-change.

Say no to R. Kelly and Bill Cosby,
yes to Cliff Huxtable, Surviving R. Kelly, Leaving Neverland, and When They See Us.
Say yes to documenting accountability. Yes to characters and cartoons,
no to character assasination and lampooning victims.
Oh no! to Chris Brown. Yes to Charlie Brown. 
Yes to Rihanna, Beyoncé, Springsteen, and Stevie Nicks.
No, thank you to Kanye, Kim-ye, Real Housewives, and reality stardom.

Say no to Heart Beat Bills; yes to having a heart. 
Say no to victimization, yes to believing victims. Yes to #MeToo, and TimesUp.
No to Tekashi, to Weinstein, and Lauer; 
Yes to rainbows, to cinema, and morning coffee.

Say yes to America, no to the American way.
Say no to yes men, ad men, con men, governing men
Yes to nomenclatures of the heart, yes to women, yes to love.”

David Starnes

Say no to political correctness, yes to grammatical correctness,
Yes to debate and dissenting views.
Say no to conformity, yes to inclusion.
Say no to inaction and complacency,
yes to activism and contemplation.

Yes to friendship, no to Fox and Friends.
Say yes to The Times, to The Post, to The Globe, to journalism. 
Oh no to Fake News, Fox News: Hannity, Limbaugh, Carlson.
No to the brainwashing of boomers, yes to the karmic boomerang,
Yes to comeuppance, yes to justice, yes to love.

Say no to Ben Shapiro, yes to Bart Simpson and Ben Dover. Yes to jokes, yes to comedy,
yes to laughter, yes to love.
Say no to inequality, yes to quality of life.
Say no to “all lives matter,” yes to Black Lives Matter. 
Say no to the militarization of police. No to institutionalized racism.
No to bigotry, no to hate crimes, no to killer cops. 

A loud and woeful NO to the murder of Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin,
Philando Castile, Michael Brown, and Sandra Bland; NO to the slaughter of Atatiana Jefferson,
Botham Jean, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray. Scream NO to the injustice served to Ahmaud Arbery,
Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.

Say yes to education and legislation, 
no to thoughts and prayers, to school shooters and the NRA.
No to homegrown terrorism disguised as conservatism. 
Say no to the Alt-right, Third Reich, and guns for hire.
Say yes to allies, no to Charlottesville, yes to Heather Heyer.
Yes to love.
Say yaass to RuPaul, no to Rand Paul, Ayn Rand, and Paul Ryan.
Oh no, to “both sides,” whataboutisms, and “Her emails.”

Yes to house parties, pool parties, costume parties.
No to frat parties, and a two-party system.
Say no to rape culture, rape kit backlogs,
minimum sentencing laws, and lenience for Brock Turner.
Say no to prison-profiteering, yes to prison reform.
Yes to redemption. Yes to compassion. Yes to love.

Say alright alright alright to the legalization of cannabis,
Yes to doobies, Scooby-Doo, SpongeBob, and Bob Marley.
No to Jeff Sessions, yes to Keebler Elves.
Say yes to minorities, no to majority leader Mitch McConnell.
Say no to McDonalds, yes to McDowells.
Yes to coming to America, no to “the wall” no to ICE.
No to mass-deportation, caging kids, and xenophobia.

Say yes to capture the flag, flashlight tag, and dancing under streetlights.
Say no to social media addiction, no to trending, no to hashtags.
No to viral videos, to meme culture, and to status updates.
Say yes to date night, no to swipe right.
Yes to telling stories, no to Insta-stories.
Yes to poetry, yes to beatniks, no to sending Snaps.
Yes to snapping fingers, yes to clapping hands.
Yes to cheering hearts,
Yes to living and dying free, yes to love.

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