On the Fourth
of July,
a young white man
with a gun
opened fire
at a parade
in Illinois,
killing six.

On the twenty-fourth
of June,
you showed women
have less rights
then that gunman.

This isn’t
the America
that Whitman
wrote about.
This isn’t
the America
that Sandberg
penned down.

We are a lost
We are divided.
We are maddened
by violence.

When I was a kid,
we celebrated America.
Now to say I am proud
to be an American…

Says I am proud
of neofascists
and radicalism.

Says I am proud
of rampant racism
and war on woman.

Says I am proud
of school shootings.
My hopes and prayers
are with the victims.
Like that does something.

I want to be proud
to be an American again.

But my America
has equal rights
and a woman’s right
to their bodies.

My America
has safe spaces
for people to walk
their children
without getting
shot at.

My America
isn’t divided
by Trump and Biden,
by ill ideologies
and fools that
subscribe to them.

My America
doesn’t have
racist cops
on crooked blocks
making traffic stops
to fill more
funeral halls
with black
and brown bodies.

My America
does not let
its citizens
get murdered
in the streets
with fully automatic

My America
doesn’t have
spray painted
on Jewish Halls.

My America
has no
at all.

Every day
bullets tear
through skins
of victims.

Every day
women are being
made prisoners
of a court,
made to play
some sick game.

What the hell
are we doing?
And who the fuck
is winning?

I thought maybe
there would be
refuge for one day.

Barbecues light,
children play,
a nice day
to have a parade,
one nice day.

It saddens me.
But yet these
thoughts and prayers,
They do nothing.

I just want
to be proud
to be
an American again

A Concerned Citizen


Jason Wright is the editor and founder of Oddball Magazine. His column appears weekly. His third book, Train of Thought 2: Almost Home is available now at the Oddball Book Store.