The Ides of March

I read about the

Ides of March

When in high school

We read Julius Caesar

 

That was March’s terror

 

I never read about My Lai

That wasn’t part of the

Curriculum

No

The mass murder

the slaughter

No

the mutilation

extermination

No

excuse me

active killing

shooting spree

of 500 and something

unarmed civilians

with our (un)proud and great american

weapons of massacre destruction

No

That wasn’t part of the curriculum

That’s what my teachers told me

by neglecting to get to it

 

When I asked my parents

They didn’t really know what to say

Friends had been drafted

returned forgotten

labeled with

the newest shiniest four letter acronym

letting pharmaceutical companies take care of them

 

They knew that

They knew America

Had its faults

But

america, america lullabies justified

their hard work

their first generation identities

and anyways

This one (they were told)

Was complicated

So they had no answers

 

This fell into

The Nothing Narrative:

Maybe if we don’t talk about it

We’ll still get to be Heroes

It wasn’t until I was

studying in Paradise

I felt the sting of March

 

The sting of Nothing

 

The US invades Iraq

I hear one night

After going out for sushi

That I paid for with my hard working parent’s visa

 

Some of my peers

Who were raised

On america america rhymes

And told they will be Brave

(Who wouldn’t want to be Brave?)

Offer their souls to a life

Of ptsd or early death

For a fight they don’t understand

 

I know they don’t understand

history class didn’t get to it

And anyways math and science

are more important

 

Well,

Students in Paradise critically read

study

talk March’s terror

war and peace

our humanity

But

None of them enlist

We’ll never enlist

 

But the sing-song rhymes

And pledges of allegiance

America, o America

This land is your land

This land is my land

 

And yet those left singing

(medicated and dead)

will always know far more about

The ugliness of war

March’s terror

it’s horror

Than the elite who study it or buy sushi

 

We both do as we’re told

Both make our way

Both

we

longing to be brave

important

 

America america lullabies

And america america prayers

hushes reason and worships

fundamentalism for the unwealthy

While global Money

graces moments of discussion

and parents entitlement

for rich kids out to dinner

 

(So) when my kids ask me about Iraq

I won’t know what to say

(The Nothing Narrative)

I’ll feel embarrassed for a few seconds

And hope they’ll want sushi

 

by Vicky Munyoz