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This Thing We Call America || Spoken Word

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Published on May 17, 2011

"...living out the profanity of spending without ending while pretending it's good enough to note the starving while carving fat from a land we have despised with eager eyes fixed on a prize that flows from the sweat another's brow..."

"...consuming while ignoring looming consequences boring down through history we'll miss the chance to make it last..."


Too many Americans...
want freedom without responsibility
no fences and no consequences
no imperatives and no past tenses
we want to eat the fruit
and curse the tree
forgetting that it must be
tended by someone else who pays
or who fights a war so we can say
freedom's easy
and it didn't cost me
so it must be free
we're lost in this delusion
our conclusion is
a quest for pleasure
that never ends but only spends
whatever it finds between the lines
of the pages of history
written in blood and sweat
a mystery we forget
or never knew how it grew
we want it all but seem
to call the loudest
stand the proudest
and endure the least
as we devour the feast
left for us by other men
who paid the price and never tasted
or who spent their lives
and never wasted
a moment of responsibility
now we're clamoring for civility
like savage shoppers and
craven hawkers of humanity
gawkers trading sanity
for vanity while
living out the profanity
of spending without ending
while pretending it's good enough
to note the starving
while carving fat
from a land we have despised
with eager eyes fixed on a prize
that flows from the sweat
of another's brow
and somehow
we believe that tomorrow
will be the same
that the price won't claim
that the other shoe won't fall
we imagine that freedom for all
like the air is there
to be breathed for free
that our speck of eternity
is representative
our chip of this galaxy
indicative
this endless greed
is predictive
conspicuously absent of awareness
careless of causes and sources
blinded by the debris
of unending consumption
fueled by a presumption
that this will continue
we insist that we are owed
for what we haven't done
that we be crowned
for what we haven't won
that we have it all and never fall
under the weight of choosing
never losing the illusion
of owning what we never bought
or knowing what we were never taught
consuming while ignoring
looming consequences boring
down through history
we'll miss the chance to make it last
never learning from the past
like leeches feeding
on the blood of men
who knew that freedom has a price
that must be paid again and again
by those who love responsibility
fences and consequences
hard imperatives without resentment
toil and tears and firm commitment
the price of which is always due
the piper paid but never through
seldom easy always good
never maybe only should
if freedom still intends to ring
from this thing we call America



poetry - phil long
video - zach persson & brandon daniel

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