by Len Wallace

"I am tired of work, I am tired
of building up somebody else's
civilisation." - Fenton Johnson

I too am tired
Tired of being entreated
to charge one more time
down a deadly Culloden
for some bonnie prince
some new compromise
for the lowest common denominator.
No more, no more
. I am tired of politician's boasts the official hypocrisies
of official myths
that this country's proudest
moment was our slaughter
the low level duplicities
of common sense
the celebration of ignorance
airbrushed celebrities
and academics who say
life's credentials
are worth less than a piece of paper.

I am tired of
garbage books
garbage words
and garbage Mcfood
of pseudo-marxist whiners
black hooded anarchist poseurs
who think throwing a
brick is a revolutionary act.
You don't play at revolution.

of know it all managers
stony faced bureaucrats
of conservatives and
smarmy liberals who masticate
on Hayek's fossilized bones.
Of those who want to lead us
into the swamp
who want us to patch up
this rotting Titanic
one more time.

I'm tired of brutalilities
of police beating up
young black men on our streets
thinking their uniforms
hide the act
gives them privilege.
They think we do not see.
We see. We talk.
of closed meetings
asphalt parks
cement where trees should be
false multiculturalisms
the harangues and homilies
of little hitlers
and the Christianized
hatred of emigrants
. I was born carrying
my parent's scars.

I am blues music tired
Woody Guthrie tired
of being told
we are too this or too that
and tired of playing
the same songs
when Thelonious Monk
snakes from my fingertips.

I am tired
Of the thousand and one
moneyed miseries
that sucks peoples souls
that drives despair
of young people fighting
and dying in wars for
those who think
the world is their plantation
of CEOs with anthrax smiles
of Treblinkas, My Lais,
Deir Yassins, Wounded Knees,
Ludlows, Bhopals, Westrays,
Exxon and BP disasters,
Guantanamos, Katyns,
Trails of tears
and the politicians who says
we should put the past behind us.

I am tired
so I stole this poem
because I'd rather be ready
for the ones who did
who do
who shall.

Fenton Johnson's was an African-American poet and his remarkable "Tired", an attack on Western civilisation and the Protestant work ethic, was the inspiration for writing this poem. Johnson's work has been reprinted in Black, Brown & Beige: Surrealist Writings from Africa and the Diaspora. Edited by Franklin Rosemont and Robin D.G. Kelley, University of Texas Press, 1999.

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