Liz’s Weekend Poetry Series: Frank Marshall Davis

by lizard

This week’s LWPS takes a look at Frank Marshall Davis, a black poet and alleged communist who played a prominent role in influencing our president, the closet Marxist, Barack Obama.

I received Davis’ book of collected poems, titled Black Moods, last week. I tried to find the most outlandish poem in the collection, and settled on the poem “To Those Who Sing America”. The poem, slightly altered from its original format, is below the fold. But beware, dear readers, if Davis influenced our president, altering the ideological course of his life, then there’s no telling what effect his verse may have on you…

*

TO THOSE WHO SING AMERICA

Well, gentlemen
You flag wavers
You rabble rousers
You who ask that I sing America
On patriotic occasions—
Here is one question:
What do you know of the song you chant?
You begin
“My country! ’tis of thee”
But here the patter ends.
Gentleman,
Haven’t you forgotten
Something?

~

“My country! ’tis of thee…”

(On the shores of this, my country, dwell Plenty in a forty-room mansion and Poverty in a one-room hovel…a nation turned prostitute for the fat pimps of Politicians and Captains of Industry…Sundays all rise to serve a crippled Nordic God…His torn-out eyes replaced by dollar signs…His belly bloated with the greasy gravy of the Profit System…His spindly shanks molded from the spavined bones of the hungry workers…His doddering frame supported by the props of Federal Dole and Government Subsidy…this is my country with the star spangled robe snatched away)

“Sweet land of liberty…”

(Do you remember Sacco and Vanzetti in Boston, Tom Mooney in California, nine Scottsboro boys in Alabama?)

“Of thee I sing; …”

(Yes—with words approved by the Daughters of the American Revolution, Ku Klux Klan, American Legion and Boards of Censors of forty-eight states)

“Land where my fathers died!…”

(While strong-arming the Indian owners…starving to fill money sacks of Mistermorgan, Misterdupont, Mistermellon…human guinea pigs testing crazy social systems)

“Land of the Pilgrims’ pride!…”

(The Pilgrims, gentlemen, had not seen my country as a land of peons down South, wage-slaves up North…her wooded hills stripped to stony nakedness by lumber corporations…signboards selling beer and bunion cures blocking her native scenery…lynched black bodies swaying from trees in a morning breeze)

“From ev’ry mountain side…”

(Including airy skyscraper and penthouse for the few, disease cradling tenement for the many)

“Let freedom ring!”

(Although the rich are counting dividends and dodging income taxes while the poor are scrambling for crumbs dropped from the Table of Capitalism, let us hush…the Politicians and Professional Americans wish to lift their voices in song)

~

We shall stop here
My flag waving friends
You don’t remember
The other verses
Anyway…

—Frank Marshall Davis

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