By James Doran

It is not a time to laugh.
A fascist in the White House.
It never comes all at once.
It trickles down slowly and as
the American middle class re-emerges
we all say, “This ain’t so bad …”
While a gnawing voice goes silent,
we laugh, “This ain’t so bad …”
 
This is no time to laugh.
 
I cannot trust my television
for any kind of truth.
Might as well watch the Game,
disengage and wait it out
to see if the darkness rising
settles in like fog on the land
of the free and the fools.
 
This is no time to laugh.
 
This is not the clarion voice,
the downtrodden crying for justice,
the hungry begging for bread,
the disenfranchised masses.
This is the redemption again
for those who claim lost glory
ridden on the backs of a lower class
kept in chains of color and creed
with their women suffering long
as their prayers finally fail.
 
Alone now in despair and pain.
Left kneeling naked in November rain;
freedom dreams, since childhood,
defrauded, spoiled like shame.
No legs left to stand upon,
we crawl to safety, to forgetfulness,
to shelter, to grief; to non-belief.
 
This is no time to laugh.
 
Where are you now, my brothers and sisters?
Did you forget the sound of your own heartbeat?
I believed you: “Make Love not War,” “Power to the People,”
“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what … ”
That voice was stilled and you relinquished
your own faith and righteousness
and took the subway to work
and forgot your soul was the answer;
what we really needed.
 
This is no time to laugh.
 
James Doran, formerly of Twisp, now lives in Bellingham.