The Exclusive Inclusive

I heard about a tender troop,
Whose commission was to give
Love like a ministry serves soup;
They seemed, oh, so inclusive.

This sounded like the group for me;
Yes, I wished to be aligned.
To join, they said, would cost a fee,
A small price I wouldn’t mind.

They handed me a list of views
I was not allowed to hold;
Conformity would pay my dues,
Keep me right among the fold.

But when I asked these lovers why
Such opinions weren’t allowed,
They said such evil thoughts should die,
Smothered by a rainbow shroud,

And those who held such views were base,
Lower than a spawn of hell;
And, out of love, they would erase
Even traces of their smell.

I must admit, I was surprised
To hear words so fraught with hate;
If tolerance was what they prized,
Why such conformity mandate?

But when I pointed out this flaw,
If love was the true motive,
Their answer startled like a claw:
“Inclusive means exclusive.”

And at utterance of the word
“Inclusive,” the dogs came out
As if a whistle-sound was heard,
Barking from, it seemed, one snout.

They joined the tender troop in song,
Its sharp harmonies a shiv;
I knew then I did not belong:
Their malice was inclusive.

 

For All Its Flaws

“For all its flaws, the Communist revolution taught Chinese women to dream big.”
—New York Times

“For all its flaws, communism has tried
To crush inequity beneath each stride.
Oh, the waking man is dead without dreams—
Should the mere fact there were nightmarish screams
Compel us to cast the vision aside?”

“For each time communism was applied,
True Marxist principles would always slide;
What facts condemn, aspiration redeems,
For all its flaws.”

Sadly, regardless of how many died,
The faithful indict each tyrannous guide,
Not his convictions, for ruthless extremes.
The facts won’t change what a zealot esteems;
Thus, belief in fantasy can abide,
For all its flaws.

 

Ron L. Hodges is an English teacher and poet who lives in Orange County, California. His works have appeared in The Road Not Taken, Ancient Paths, Calvary Cross, and The Society of Classical Poets Journal 2015, 2016, and 2017. He won the Society’s prestigious Annual Poetry Competition in 2016.

 

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