“London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling
down. London Bridge is falling down
my fair lady.”

During segregation grocery stores thrived inside Jackson’s ghettos.
Then Brown v. Board of Education led the way to integration.
A decade or so later our Mississippi Freedom Movement
contributed to Johnson’s Civil and Voting Rights Acts
hurrah shazam opening Pandora doors for blacks
including their small businesses to exit
never to return thus eventually ruining
those neighborhoods some of which
had bullet holes memorializing
the glory days I last visited
as a dyed-in-dem-cotton
liberal Jew thru long hot
summer days of  ‘73
when there were
exactly zero gas
stations left in
the hood plus
no white man
would fill
my tank
up.

 

Gerard Sarnat has spent decades working hard for Middle East peace, including being a member of the country’s longest-running Jewish-Palestinian dialogue group and serving on the New Israel Fund international board.

Gerry is the author of four critically-acclaimed collections: HOMELESS   CHRONICLES from Abraham to Burning Man (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014) and Melting The Ice King (2016).Work from Ice King was accepted by over seventy magazines, including Gargoyle and Lowestoft Chronicle, and featured in Songs of Eretz Poetry Review, Avocet: A Journal of Nature Poems, LEVELER, tNY, StepAway, Bywords and Floor Plan. For Huffington Post and other reviews, reading dates, publications, interviews and more, visit GerardSarnat.com.  Go to Amazon to find Gerry’s books plus Editorial and Customer Reviews. Harvard and Stanford educated, Gerry’s worked in jails as a physician, built and staffed clinics for the marginalized, been a CEO of healthcare organizations and Stanford Medical School professor. Married since 1969, he and his wife have three children and three grandkids with a fourth on the way.

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7 Responses

  1. Profile photo of 绿山从 From Green Mountain  (Cong Lu Shan)
    绿山从 From Green Mountain (Cong Lu Shan)

    yea…. i said it myself so many times my voice grew hoarse. people create their own problems and the more they create the worse they get. slavery segregation desegregation gun control mandatory gun ownership (some day in the future maybe)… not being allowed to think our own thoughts is just the communist new world order in which we live as much here in the US as in north korea (it’s just that it’s become reflexive here so people can’t even think clearly nor are they socially allowed to if not imposed with violence like in a true communist state)– but certainly plenty of things are well-enforced with violence right here in the ol’ u s of a. and yet people are not allowed to think about it. its not politically correct.

    the answer is diy. do it yourself or don’t bother. no one will change anyone else’s fate. i try to walk my path straight. and it’s gotten easier after i stopped shouting so loud

    Reply
  2. james sale

    Hi Gerard – I like this strange and weirdly moving poem, and the way the lines shorten to create a mesmerising effect. The only thing I don’t like, but probably because I am a pro-Brexit Brit, is the mention of Brexit in the title. I cannot see the relevance or connection to our situation in the UK; this seems a forced analogy. The USA for me is truly a land of and for democracy, however our systems become corrupted over time; and so it is important to understand that the EU is a profoundly un- and anti-democratic institution, which is why the British people have roundly rejected it. Americans would never have accepted its terms and conditions in the first place – they are too independent for that!

    Reply
  3. Profile photo of 绿山从 From Green Mountain  (Cong Lu Shan)
    绿山从 From Green Mountain (Cong Lu Shan)

    KING 810 – i aint goin back again
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEzc-Y-b2kk

    I ain’t goin back again to that state of mind where i was ignorant and it was war time
    And i thought i could save all of us if i wrote one line ya know the right line

    Honestly this is as honest as ive been
    So ill try speaking to the public like were friends
    Truthfully i wish the very best for men
    But you think freedom is money well money has an end
    I ain’t goin back again

    after all weve been through
    id face myself before i look at you

    i aint goin back again to the time we thought that a record deal could save us
    where we were unapproachable and desperate and we were dangerous
    where our city would love us and think highly of us not hate us
    cuz it didnt change a thing
    i’m still David
    i’m still KING

    Reply
  4. Juanita Hamilton

    Hi James, I agree. A bit confusing. Not sure what the connection is here. I read the poem as strangely pro-segregation, which to me (although I’m from the U.S. and don’t know so much about the U.K.) translates to anti-E.U.

    Reply
    • james sale

      Thanks Juanita. Yes, in the UK some people who are pro-Remain do keep trying to imply or assert that wanting to leave the EU is some sort of racist action, but of course it is not. If Mexico and Canada both wanted to create political union with the USA, then they can politic to do it, but it wouldn’t be racist or segregrationist for the USA to want not to do that and have that union, especially if the people voted against it. ‘Super-states’ simply do not have the electoral accountability of countries, and that is the issue. So regarding the poem, I think I like it, but I think the title is misleading and confusing, and I for one would never accept that racial segregation and wishing to exit a political union are the same or parallel things. Thank you for your kind words.

      Reply
  5. Juanita Hamilton

    Oops, just realized I implied that… The Canada and Mexico analogy makes more sense given actual cultural differences and population levels. Better just as “Unintended Consequences” … and better with the epigraph: “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.”

    Reply
  6. gm

    i think that with issues that are so mushy like race the author needed to just let the air out and it comes out as a bit confusing… in other words, we’re addressing issues that have become open sores that do not even exists– it’s the toxicity causing the sores that we are trying to fumigate. but no one is able to say it directly…. because that just adds caustic fumes to the sores. we can’t even use standard wordage because … more energy to the same caustic flame. we truly cannot say what we think in these cases because our thoughts are themselves products of this awful flame we have been born under… that of hate and intolerance. that is the issue. not any political term. and certainly not the parasites who make their living off of these terms. in fact, and this goes for the people at the top of these establishments, politics being the most parasitic, these people truly matter less than anyone else and are the most parasitic. only because of their professions. they are to be pitied. their only worth is in their individual sentience. nothing else.

    Reply

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