Hollow Men

A nice, uh, patriotic poem for the Fourth of July. Sure.

This is one of those poems where I can either write a thousand words or nothing at all about it. Basically, in undergrad I started to wake up to the reality that, oh hey, white middle class culture tends to pretend to care about stuff like justice and faith but really care more about looking like they care. My awareness of the issue—and my own complicitness—has only increased as I’ve gotten older. It’s easy to talk about the issues—race, hypocrisy and injustice in the church—but it’s hard to actually do anything about them. So we don’t. And eventually we just close our eyes to the fact that injustice is even happening. After all, we’re comfortable, so it must not be that bad, right?

Happy Independence Day, everyone. America is freer than the pessimists admit and so much worse than many people think we are.

Hollow Men

Originally written circa 2003/2004

i hate apathy
i hate how our nation
just sits around
uncaring—we are capitalists
so focused on our own interests
usa—a nation, united, for we
are all self-centered bastards
all we do is talk—we say
“diversity is important!”
(as we sip our lattes
and talk with our same-minded friends
we bob our white heads, and fear
to step outside suburbia at night.)
we do nothing—activism,
an embarrassing memory from
our nation’s history. (anyway,
they are all hypocrites now.)
no concern for fellow man,
no concern for welfare, be it
physical or spiritual.
“we are the hollow men—”
but we’ve closed our eyes
and refuse to even look
we much prefer our dreams…

Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash