Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Michael Ceraolo- Three Poems

Remember the Alamo

Remember the stirring images,
from the books,
                                    TV shows,
of John Wayne
                        and David Crockett
and the guy named after the knife
(or who the knife was named after)
and close to two hundred others
(though not the guys the big cities are named after),
"men made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom"
and created
                   "the Shrine of Texas Liberty"
in the ultimately successful fight
against those dictatorial Mexicans
The ultimate sacrifice of brave men
is always at the adult table of history;
it's time for what they were fighting for
to be promoted from the children's table of history

Mexico had abolished slavery in 1829,
had granted an exception to the Texans,
an exemption the Texans saw as temporary,
an exemption they were willing to fight
to make permanent,
the war for Texas independence

not independence for everyone,
who independence was not for was spelled out
in Section 9 of the General Provisions
of the Constitution of the Republic of Texas:

"All persons of color who were slaves for life
previous to their emigration to Texas
and who are now in bondage,
shall remain in the like state of servitude"

"Congress shall pass no laws to prohibit emigrants
from bringing their slaves into the republic with them
and holding them by the same tenure by which
such slaves were held in the United States"

"nor shall congress have the power to emancipate slaves"

"nor shall any slave holder by allowed
to emancipate his or her slave or slaves
without the consent of congress"

"No free person of African descent, either in whole or in part,
shall be permitted to reside permanently in the republic,
without the consent of Congress"

the importation or admission of Africans or negroes
into this republic,
from the United States of America,
is forever prohibited"

so they were brought,
the slave population doubled in the four years
after 'independence' in 1836,
then doubled again in the five years
to annexation in 1845,
then doubled yet again in the five years
till The Great Capitulation of 1850,
did delay the Civil War a decade

And that's the way it was,
and still isn't in most books

Reasons for Moving

Not the Mark Strand poem,
the reasons why people came to America

The ones always mentioned,
and rightly so,
fleeing oppression and/
or seeking opportunity

not everyone was covered by these two situations
For a sizable population
there was another reason absent from the history books
and rarely,
                if ever,
                          remarked upon
outside the history books:
the avoidance of military service

an uncelebrated haven

Excerpt from Summertime Blues:  Twenty-First Century Edition

"I called my Congressman 
and he said, quote,
I'd like to help you son"
but did you pay for my vote?

Michael Ceraolo is a 56-year-old retired firefighter/paramedic and active poet who has had one full-length book (Euclid Creek, from Deep Cleveland Press) and a few shorter-length books published, and has a second full-length book, Euclid Creek Book Two, forthcoming from unbound content press."

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