by Eleanor Goldfield

It’s barely holding together – this tattered experiment

The shuffle of lab coats,

the coarseness of scabbed hope –

remote –

vultures pick over,

the bottom line lowers –

our standards –

and poor –

they’re building more floors, down.

The paint chipping halls –

echoes sound shrill off the walls –

history rolls, the present feels droll – – vertigo

and deja vu,

trauma and the red white and blue –

whispers in corridors –

the ghosts now our hosts –

in this creaking asylum –

seeking asylum –

justice and liberty –

silenced and caged,

Manifest Destiny raged –

for this glory –

that’s our origin story.

They tell it at bedtime –

when the drugs of complicity quiet dissent.

Still, the lies – burn –

like tear gas and coal ash –

something can’t be soothed –

When you wake, can you feel –

the itching,

the raw and the real –

the glimmer fades –

the harshness of light,

dividing the night –

oh say can you see –

this condemned toxic lean-to,

we really don’t have to –

dig our own graves in the shadows of kings.

There’s a pulse –

life in a dead zone –

doubt, questions –

why kill ourselves to save the doomed –


Why take pride –

in a flailing sick empire?

Why beg for crumbs –

when we’re making the bread?

The flag comes undone, unraveled.


Naked –

the guilt and the sadness –

waves in this mad mess.


You are the pulse –

the life in this dying experiment –

this crumbling, fumbling disaster

within a mirage.

We are the lab rats –

the monkeys, the rabbits and bats –

the sick and tired,

the jingoist used,

the programmed abused.

Still –

something couldn’t be soothed –

these jagged truths can not be smoothed –

passed notes make new pages in books –

our bodies are stories –

our voices are warnings, and calls.

Now the echoes repeat off the walls:

no justice, no peace – this our release –

Swarming the halls,

busting the locks, chains –

rattle and fall –

control –

group –

pick a route –

to freedom –

Emergent we bloom –

consumption and doom –

behind –

in the tattered asylum –

experiment done.


Yet remarkable subjects – prevailed…

Or so I dreamt…on the 4th of July

(feature pic by Halim Ina)