With a sense of illusory safety in my cave, I sing a ballad to no one.

Using the overgrown nails on my fingers I carve in the clayish, pallid walls a heartfelt eulogy to the republic.

“… for which I bow… ”

I write until my nails are worn down, notched and bloody, to where my flesh begins. Heartbreak and anger urge me to write, impulsivity compels my hands. I scratch into the walls lines about inequalities and injustices that should not be happening at this address –

America, Earth.

OR AT ANY ADDRESS… for that matter.

And when I am done,

I stand.



They have to. Why can’t everyone understand that?

I stand for those who were undeserving of a violent end.


I vent.

But my exhaust gets lost in the planetary pollution of establishment politicians and commerce—in a system that does not work for everyone… in a system that encourages division and hate, because they thrive on our division. Capital rumbles and discharges a shadowy smoke that hovers and blows thick with toxins and wraps puffs of plump, militant fingers around figures in a bid to choke and collapse what human remains.

“I can’t breathe!” Should never be literal in a place where air is meant to be free.

Cover By Kadir Nelson

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