The Pastor stands proudly perched
behind the podium, preaching a sad sermon.
Soliloquy of holy hymns sung by a choir –
over organ-ground gospel music.
Tears, flowers, glory halleluiahs,
in a coffin
on display like
Have you ever found yourself
Lost; questioning not just your life’s purpose,
But the very notion of God; when faced with
immense struggle & pain?
I, for one, view life’s challenges
to our greatness—
to something truly extraordinary
something beyond the limited perception
Something wondrously enamoured
with immaculate wings enabling us to fly
Soaring far beyond our dreams.
Transforming our lives into something
Greater than ever we were before
Mushroom Clouds In The Sky
In the wake of the morning’s sunrise,
at 8:16 am, August 6th, 1945— death arrived
from the bright morning sky of Hiroshima; the Grim Reaper
came a calling, rapidly descending from the clouds bearing
a sharp, whistling sound like the cry of a thousand American bald eagles,
soaring from the skies of the rising sun.
The world’s first-ever atomic bomb
delivered courtesy of a B-29 American bomber
dubbed the ‘The Enola Gay’; infamously
named after the pilot’s mother.
This whistling author of imminent demise—
tumbled from an angry sky; leaving in its wake
an irreparable stain upon the fabric of humanity; for the proverbial
‘genie had been irreversibly released from its bottle, and thus, the world
would forever be changed.
The thunderous impact of the whistling bomb
upon the rich Japanese soil – swiftly culminated in the shape
of a giant mushroom cloud in the sky, relinquishing a dizzying numbness,
as stunned survivors- coloured in the unsightly ambiance of war—
stumbled blindly in search of their lost equilibrium, wading frantically
through echoes of shock-waves & the dense black rain of inhumanity
that had suddenly fallen upon them.
Intoxicated by the raw stench of burning flesh and toxic gasses,
brave and compassionate souls searched tirelessly for any signs of life—
amidst the smouldering ruins and burned corpses; blindly brushing past
the ash-like matter of the countless victims instantly incinerated upon
the impact of the bomb.
The souls of the dead— stood in silent vigil,
wading in the shadows of their human statues,
instantly be-stilled in their final moment of breath.
Scattered remains lie floating— in the Pacific;
so horrifically charred, they resembled burnt tree limbs.
Amongst the smog of rising chaos— you could hear the scattered
cries of women & children— some reacting out of fear &shock,
while others lied injured; eardrums nearly shattered by the incredibly
sharp ringing in their blood-clogged ears—
their stinging pupils solicited the birth of black, burning tears.
Many of the survivors succumbed to their injuries; whether
from their mortal wounds, radiation poisoning, or a host
of other diseases caused by the bombing like lung cancer,
kidney failure etc. etc.— In addition, the offspring
of many, a survivor would arrive still-born
from their mother’s womb— while countless others
were plagued by the horror of their children being born
with debilitating congenital disabilities, a direct result of radiation poisoning-
genetically passed down through the parents—
The residual after-effects of that horrendous bomb
would manifest its destiny from generation to generation
for decades to come.
It is imperative to remember that those were not just soldiers
the Americans bombed that fateful day, the overwhelming
majority of its victims were innocent civilians, consisting
mostly of women, children, & the elderly; many of which were:
poor field workers, store merchants, farmers,& school children
who had no cause in the war, they were merely pawns upon a chessboard,
the collateral damage of political indifference; not even an after-thought in
the crazy, diabolical mind of a bigoted, racist, American President
whose heart was clearly devoid of human kindness, compassion & decency; for
the war was practically over, the American & Japanese governments
were in the midst of negotiating Japan’s terms of surrender; their primary concern
being: the Japanese didn’t wish to see their beloved emperor tried for war crimes,
shamed or dishonoured in the eyes of the Japanese people and the world at large; they
merely wanted to uphold their beloved emperor’s utmost honour and dignity upon Japan’s imminent surrender. However, despite the ongoing negotiations, it would appear that President Truman had a hidden agenda; for what better opportunity to demonstrate
to the world, the superior military might of the United States of America,
than by showcasing the greatest military weapon ever known to humankind.
Truman’s masterplan was to end the war quickly & decisively by unleashing
the atom bomb upon the Japanese people; rather than end it peacefully through
negotiations, he decided instead to use innocent civilians as political pawns,
human guinea-pigs to test the merit of his prized weapon in an actual live war situation,
a desperate attempt to rapidly swing the balance of world power in favor of the United States of America.
For this was America’s opportunity to leverage her position as the
premier world power. Through this treacherously heinous and cowardly act,
the U.S. was sending a message, placing the world on notice to either fall
in-line or suffer the same consequences; not only was this an inhumane act,
this was a war crime, a lab experiment, the shameless culmination
of an “Arms race’’ between Russia, Germany, & the United States.
This was ethnic cleansing, a genocide of epic proportions.
This was a blatant attempt to wipe an entire people off the face of the earth, almost as if casually wiping crumbs from a table, taking out the trash, or stomping them dead like roaches.
I once saw an old World War II propaganda film that showed an American officer
being interviewed by a reporter after a fierce and bloody battle with Japanese soldiers to
over-take a hill; to paraphrase, he said: “You’ve got to admire those Japs, no matter what we throw at them, they just keep coming at you like roaches.”
He casually referred to a group of human beings as roaches,
something filthy, something non-human, something so despicable,
you could drop an atomic bomb on it without ever having to feel
a single ounce of remorse or compassion besides they’re only roaches,
and everyone hates roaches, right?
This was ‘White Supremacy’ at work, covered beneath the guise of war,
to protect democracy and freedom; so, congratulations Mr. Truman; by George,
you’ve done it!
What a glorious and timeless memento to the horrors of hate and war.
What a magnificent legacy of pain and terror you’ve managed to bestow
upon the United States of America’s already infamous reputation for
barbarianism and human cruelty. After committing such an atrocity,
how can you look yourself in the mirror, America!
How do you sleep at night without reliving the horrible nightmare
of your war-mongering deeds? How do you not feel the need to regurgitate
the guilt deriving from such a despicably senseless act of inhumanity?
You have entirely obliterated nearly a quarter of a million innocent civilians
who were just going about their lives, performing their daily routines with no idea of
the horror that would soon come raining down upon them.
Again, it is essential to remember: this vicious nuclear attack—
wasn’t aimed solely towards the military; for the overwhelming
majority of its victims were innocent civilians, mostly women, children,
and the elderly, notwithstanding, the devastating, long-term effects
unleashing a nuclear bomb would have on countless generations,
and generations to come?
I wonder how a country can be so beautiful, so hope-inspiring,
so utterly charming on the one hand, and yet, so cold & ruthlessly
calculating on the other. That is certainly not my vision of— America the beautiful.
For this, America, controlled by the evil, ‘wealthy elite,’ is a greedy, lying, arrogant bully who fits the profile of a narcissistic, psychopathic killer; the evil charmer
who diabolically preys upon the vulnerability of poor people of color.
The politicians & the media compel us to buy into this patriotic
‘Ponzi scheme’ of greed, tyranny & savagery—
by subliminally waving the American flag in our faces.
Thus, unleashing the power of blind patriotism, perfectly seasoned
with the theme of the ‘Star-Spangled Banner;’ playing in the background,
while ole glory stands tall, ever waving her colours of red, white, & blue-
democracy & freedom!
How could we ever hope to deny such brilliantly shrewd propaganda—
when the puppet-masters media continually bombards us with sugar-coated
notions of uncle Sam’s: “Great American Dream,” served with vanilla ice cream,
and sweet “American-Apple pie”; coupled with the promise of beautiful
white houses & “White- Picket Fences.”
They Held Picket
Signs That Read…
The first day attending my new school, I begrudgingly
board the pale yellow bus; silently agonizing over the thought
of leaving behind all my friends at P.S.27 –As a result of
the desegregation initiative in the New York State Public School system,
where children of colour— residing in underprivileged neighbourhoods,
were selected to become the government’s new social experiment:
Black children plucked like lilies & replanted in all-white schools across the city;
abruptly uprooted from the neighbourhood school in which we flourished.
At nine years old, I was being bussed along with several other children
from my neighbourhood; we were all being transferred from P.S. 27 to P.S.51,
an all-white school in Benson Hurst, Brooklyn.
Upon our arrival, the bus was greeted by a group of angry protestors
made up of white parents who clearly weren’t too happy we were there;
they shouted profanities while holding picket signs that read:
“Niggers Go Home! Go Back To Africa— Where You Came from!”
Police barricades served as the border between twenty frightened
black children & the hostile soliloquy of an angry mob of white folks;
mostly made up of parents who didn’t wish to see their child’s school integrated
with poor black kids.
Some tossed objects while others spat racial epithets
as we timidly exited the school bus; huddled closely together; moving in tiny- little—
increments of fear, yet, still, we moved; taking slow, subtle steps towards
what was, alleged to be, a better education, a better future, a better life!
And though it only lasted a few minutes, this traumatic encounter felt like an eternity—
as we slowly inched our way towards the school’s intimidating entrance,
a place we were obviously not wanted or welcomed.
Each day, an encore of the day before, and though
the angry crowds & protests eventually subsided,
I still remember that moment. I still wear the scars!
I will never forget their flushed- crimson- faces,
I will never forget their hateful signs— splattered with
their loathing sentiments of hate.
It was a time I wanted to vanish; for at that moment, I wished—
I were a magician so that I could disappear; so I could be invisible
in a place that didn’t want to see or hear me; a place where even the teachers
seemed to lack the vital tenets of compassion, care, or empathy
for a displaced child who was clearly struggling with his new world,
so I became invisible; by way of being silent; seeking safe refuge
in a sanctuary deep within myself; an inner escape
from the harsh reality of not belonging, of feeling ostracized,
of feeling demoralized.
So many lessons were learned during my short stay at P.S. 51.:
Like: How powerfully pervasive is the ignorance of prejudice & hate?
Like: What are the long-term effects of racial trauma upon an innocent
child’s psyche? Like: What is social engineering? Like: What is culture shock?
When the late great, Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s
colour barrier, he faced similar challenges; challenges he was well prepared
to meet as a black man living in America at that time.
But no child should ever have to endure such a degree of torment; abruptly
uprooted from the comfort of their surroundings & placed in a racially
hostile environment in which one is expected to thrive & flourish.
Things— such as this should never be inflicted upon any child; especially
here in the United States of America; black, brown, or otherwise.
The Song Of Their Addiction
Have you ever seen the miracle of springtime lilies,
dancing in the meadow to the winds of a storm that eventually
passes, leaving them practically unscathed?
Do you remember how the sun would rise triumphantly after a storm,
splattering the colours of the rainbow across the quiet skies;
as if to say: this is a new day, a new age, a renaissance of change,
beauty, and innocence.
Oh, how I wish this were a poem about the miracle of springtime lilies,
dancing in the winds of a storm that eventually passes, leaving them
I wish this were a poem about the sun rising triumphantly after a storm,
splattering the colours of the rainbow across the quiet skies, slowly unveiling
a new day, a new age, a renaissance of change, beauty, & innocence, but
this is not a poem about dancing lilies surviving a storm, nor is it a poem about
the beautiful sunrise splattering the colours of the rainbow across the quiet skies,
or the coming of a new day, a new age, a renaissance of change, beauty,& innocence.
This is a poem about pain & struggle, torture, & betrayal.
This is a poem about the ugliness of life, as seen through the eyes of an addict.
This is a poem about our mothers, our fathers, our sisters, & our brothers.
This is a poem about a thirteen-year-old girl who routinely sells her body
(a quip pro quo) for methamphetamines.
This is a poem about a pre-mature infant, barely hanging on to life support because his seventeen-year-
old mother had a two hundred dollar-a-day heroin habit.
This is a poem about the call of addiction, the pain of its infliction, the power of its grip,
And the pull of its gravity upon the human psyche.
This is a poem about how quickly addiction dims the light of one's essence and crushes the soul; how it
hopes and dreams, killing all your aspirations & desire
to live for anything else other than serving that constant yearning that never serves you.
This unyielding desire to dance with the devil— circumvents anything & everything of true value,
of true meaning, often severing the bond between friends & family, notwithstanding your
responsibilities. So utterly powerful & crippling; its grip weakens one's will to exercise their freedom of
thought. They are merely but slaves
surrendering to a life of unquenchable thirst, a foolish quest, unworthy of pursuit; for addiction
whispers / to the soul of its victims, its breath, ever redolent with the inevitable
stench of death.
Like the song of the siren— addiction calls & compels its victims to do its bidding, to do its dance!
when they dance, it reminds me of those lilies, dancing in the meadow to the winds of a storm that
eventually passes; for no matter how hard or how long those winds may blow, they still hold on to the
song of their addiction.
Prince A. McNally is a Brooklyn-born poet/ philosopher, editor & filmmaker whose poems have been widely published in the U.S. and abroad, in such publications as TUCK Magazine, Dissident Voice, Blue Mountain Review & Jerry Jazz Musician & Americans & Others, just to name a few. He is a Poets & Writers Grant recipient & has received several Best of The Net nominations. His debut collection of poems entitled ‘SHE’ will be published by Poets Wear Prada in the Spring of 2022. He is also editing an African American Anthology entitled “The BLACK PROJECT,” scheduled for release in the Fall of 2022, also published through Poets Wear Prada.
Thank you so much, Kasturika for taking the time to read my workDelete
as well as for your feedback; that means a lot to me.
Peace & Love,
Hi there, Prince!ReplyDelete
I am si glad to read your clever poetic writings!
Thanks for sharing such a diversified themes...this is really enriching!!!
My dear, Rita, thank you for those kind and endearing comments.Delete
And I especially thank you for taking the time to read my poems. I truly appreciate you.
Congrats!! What a great Collection of ur work Prince A McNally!! 😍😍😍ReplyDelete
Thank you dear, Eliana! I'm so thrilled you enjoyed them. :)Delete
wow potent poetic diversity.thank you for sharingReplyDelete
lightlove blessings cathy my heart hears yours
Thank you so much for your lovely comments. I'm so thrilled these poems resonated with you :)ReplyDelete