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Chard deNiord: Open Letter to the President from a Citizen, August 21, 2019

I write to you, Mr. President, from inside 
the cell in which you’ve locked the country
with ICE.  
                   It’s alive in here with “huddled 
masses” you call your enemy, you call “invaders,”
including me—a citizen you’re holding as well 
in your detention center of fear and loathing
of the other, although you were different, too, 
just yesterday in the persons of your mother 
and father’s father, whose middle name was Christ.
I hear echoes inside these walls that are invisible 
but hard with history, repeating the words 
of martyrs that fly like birds from the past into now—
this one in particular from a hole in Vladivostok: 
“No longer can I feel the ground beneath me…
Whenever there’s a snatch of talk, it turns 
to the Kremlin Mountaineer who pokes out his finger 
that alone goes boom.” 
                    Do you hear? 
A chorus of beautiful voices is singing right here 
beneath this sky: “Every tyrant resurrects the same.” 

Note: The quotations are from Osip Mandelstam’s poem “Stalin Epigram.”

Copyright 2019 Chard deNiord

One comment on “Chard deNiord: Open Letter to the President from a Citizen, August 21, 2019

  1. Erine Leigh
    August 22, 2019

    Thanks for speaking out!
    Erine Leigh

    Liked by 1 person

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