Susan Jarvis Bryant, ‘Beef’ and ‘The Price’ – Honorable Mention, Adult
You’ve heard the shouts of ‘tyranny’
from hordes in Washington, D.C.—
the pumped Trump-grumpsters waging war
on him, the oafish Whitehouse boor.
Hot, hissy fury yowls aloud
from feral yellers in the crowd,
all sporting fuzzy, pussy hats
and howling, “Ban the tampon tax!”.
The rainbow flags are hoisted high
as LGBTQs stride by
with pride, though there’s a way to go,
and phobic droves to overthrow.
But no one marches, fired and willing,
to spill the ills of rape and killing
of those who seek both truth and calm,
who care and share and shun all harm;
of those who strive to tolerate
when graciousness is met with hate;
of those defiled and beaten raw
behind Red China’s blood-soaked door.
The bleating sheep won’t squeeze a tear
or bellow out so all can hear
of organs ripped from those oppressed,
to sell to buyers in the West.
You’ve heard the word ‘catastrophe’:
the ‘climate crisis’ travesty
that hypes the plight of polar bears
with propaganda-driven scares
from throngs who shut down road and rail
to save the walrus, seal, and whale
from drastic, plastic-ridden death
and carbon-poisoned exhaled breath.
You’ve heard predictions (always wrong)
but who has heard of Falun Gong?
Practitioners cannot express
their suffering and helplessness.
As Earth heats up by one degree,
and doomsters dole out misery,
those shattered souls with splintered bones
are drowned in seas of eco moans.
Protesters blessed with having choice
to speak for those without a voice,
just carp and gripe and harp and vent
and demonize their president,
as Xi Jinping steals liberty
and life from those who won’t agree
to turn their backs on their belief,
while banners blare out, “BAN ALL BEEF!”
The silenced choke on gore and grief
while banners blare out “BAN ALL BEEF!”
* * *
The greatest gifts bestowed are those of breath
expanding lusty lungs with draughts of air,
and broken hearts replaced, defying death—
more time to care and kiss and smile and share.
Some donors grant relief then rest in peace
as zeal unfurls in those who’ve counted days
to wonders that are conjured by release
from pain and strain and merciless malaise.
But what if sick and fading days are blessed
by souls kicked through the callous core of Hell,
with life sliced from a bloodied, beaten chest
for sums that make the vaults of China swell?
Some wondrous gifts are granted at the cost
of gracious lives that should not have been lost.
* * *