Activate the Emergency Response System

by Christian Wright on August 31, 2012

Don’t you know?
There’s cancer in the air
And the food.
Our energy supply is running out
And the more we burn
The more we flood our children’s cities?

Don’t you know?
The president’s a mad man
Who arrests without warrant
And leaves a hundred thousand dead
In the country he invaded
On cooked up charges?

He never apologized
Nor did he write children’s books
That explained the dangers of militarism
And the virtues of peace
And honesty.
Can you explain to me
Why Stan Tookie Williams was executed
While George W Bush walks free?

Activate the Emergency Response System.

There’s an old woman with a crooked back
Walking down the street in pain.
There’s an 80 year old man
Bagging my groceries.
And this veteran is sleeping under a bridge.
Can you get these people
A doctor?
A retirement?
And a house?

America, I point my finger.

You who can build houses,
But who cannot house.
You who can invent a cure
But who cannot treat.
You who can train to kill
But who cannot protect.

Activate the Emergency Response System.

When was the last time you tried?
Does it still work?
Have the wires corroded?
Are the batteries dead?
Do you call 9-11
And get a pre-recorded message?
Some touch tone menu
That leaves you waiting for hours
And never leads you to a human voice?
Or even
An apology…

Can you fix it, America?
Can you arrest the slick political operatives
Who sing your praises of freedom
With a forked tongue
On a lobbyist’s dime?

Can you look behind the curtain
And see the very small, frightened man
Who fills the airwaves
And your heart
With hate,
And fear of one another?

Is there anything better
You can think of to broadcast?

Will you finally tax
Your obscene Mega-Churches?
If not,
Can you at least practice what you preach?
When you see him
Will you be able to explain to Jesus
Why your church holds a roof over empty pews
six days a week
While the homeless are still homeless seven days a week?

Activate the Emergency Response System.

I have no political program, America.
They exist a plenty.
I bet you could come up with something
If you tried.
Even though all too often it seems
That holding the truth in front of a man
With the wool pulled over his eyes
And those I-pod earphones plugged into his brain
Rarely accomplishes much
I’m proud to say
That never stopped me from trying.

I have moral outrage, America.
I have knowledge bombs.
My AEDs are bolts of lightning
That strike painfully the highest contradictions
You have managed to create
Plate with gold
And raise above yourselves.

I want to hurt you, America.
I want to break your ribs.
And electrocute your heart.
For quite clearly, you are numb
And a body isn’t dead
Until it’s warm and dead.

If you remain unmoved
By these words
If I still feel no pulse
If behind your eyes
The wheels don’t start turning
I will shock you again
And again
And again
Until my batteries are dead
And I have become smashed
And sold for scrap
By one of your minions
Like a Chinese prisoner Executed for his organs.


“Activate the Emergency Response System” is a poem from Walking Away From Dixie, a self-published and print book awaiting national distribution. It can be purchased via Paypal (email address [email protected]). Asking price is $10, which can be raised or lowered depending on the purchasers’ needs/generosity, plus $3.50 for shipping and handling.

About the Author:

C. L. Wright is a recovering musician and river guide who has lived and worked in Colorado and Utah since 2007. He was born in Georgia. He lives in a pickup truck, runs the river, and has accumulated these poems over the past several years. Among his achievements include protesting various injustices and wars, surviving the recession, hiking half the Colorado Trail, winning two cardboard boat races, passing the Utah Whitewater Guide Captains’ Test on the first try, running the San Miguel, Dolores, and Colorado Rivers from Norwood to Moab, and completing a solo self supported trip down the entire Grand Canyon in a 12’9” economically priced duckie. He lives in Moab and is writing a book about ghost towns in Utah, which he has photographed and lived in for the past three autumns.

For more information, he can be reached at:
[email protected]

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

pam fitz August 31, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Wakeup call America. Eloquently expressed by Christian’s writing skills.


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