America is to Oppression What Uncle Ben’s is to Rice

by M. A. Dennis

with great power
comes great corruption
moving like the mississippi,
no honey
no milk
no promised land
only diabetes
only lactose intolerance
only stolen land
robbing peter parker
to pay paul cents on the hour
to pay public judges
private prison kickbacks
recoil in horror
at child murders
not just in atlanta
also in public school system
also in cutbacks
also in racist socioeconomic policies

but no one locks up injustice
a repeat offender
injustice be smoking crack
injustice be turning tricks to support habit
injustice is insatiable

injustice begat Attica

they see dead people
but overlook spook sitting by
the backdoor
deal or no deal
the system needs bodies
mass quantities
we know why the caged bird
stopped singing
solitary confinement
responsibility got lost
on the good ship
on the white lion

the scar runs deep
don’t turn your back on us
we don’t feel so good
stark contrast
between classes
tired of cake
something’s cooking
an uprising
can’t keep a good rebellion down
can’t keep a revolution untelevised

coming soon
the sequel
no justice
no peace of mind
you better
this history
written in blood with a sword.


This September will mark the 48th anniversary of the brutally repressed Attica uprising in Western New York, carried out by prisoners demanding administrators improve their subhuman conditions. (September 9–13, 1971)

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