It’s happening now

as you accelerate to cut that guy off on the thruway

with seven minutes to get to the parking garage

and that damn program is still giving trouble

and the intern’s off today and it’s eighty degrees already

It’s happening now

while cheerleaders are practicing the splits

bakers are pulling muffins out of ovens

old Italian guys are getting shaved at the barbershop

skinny women in Lululemons are checking their phones on line at Starbucks

boys are throwing spitballs at each other in the back of the bus

lonely blue-hair grandmas are watching game shows

families from south of the border

are three hours into their ten-hour workday

twelve-year-old kids bent over rows of strawberries

that go on forever to the blue horizon and purple mountains’ majesty

homeless people are talking to themselves

because nobody else listens

as they drag their shopping carts

from the underpass to the park

to stake out a spot in the sun because this land is your land

and people with jobs are squinting at spreadsheets

or ringing up junk food at Wal-Mart checkouts

or busting suds at greasy spoons

or saying no on the phone to sick people with inadequate insurance policies

people without jobs are still asleep on their brother’s uncomfortable couch

It’s happening now

while you are eating bad-for-you sausage pizza at lunchtime with Latisha

dishing bout crushes and how bout Friday night, you up for it?

and WTF, it’s one-thirty already

and wait, I gotta have a cigarette

It’s happening now

an engineer from Telangana is being shot down on a barroom floor

because a disgruntled drunk wants someone to blame

a quiet black boy is being hanged from a tree

because he’s a Muslim or that’s what it looks like

to some hateful low IQ self-pitying racist

because he never hurt a fly, or anyone else

and hundreds of Jewish kids and mothers and fathers

are being evacuated from schools and community centers

because of bomb scares

a Latino father who’s lived here twenty years

is being handcuffed and stuffed into a prowl car

in front of his children

for no particular reason on this particular day

because he got a couple of back tickets he couldn’t pay

bad hombre for sure

It’s happening now

while you are yawning in front of news at ten

as the dryer runs out its cycle

and the neighbors argue out the back

and the cat wants in

It’s happening now

girls are being told they’re stupid, worthless, ugly sluts

women are being shouted at and stalked and beaten

and killed in a red fury of self-righteousness by vicious men with guns

people of color are being harassed, arrested, locked up, done to death

Muslims are being incorrectly identified by ignorant fools

bullied, victimized, and deported

swastikas are being spray-painted on temple walls

because you know the Holocaust never happened

Natives are being betrayed

and stomped into the ground all over again

by the unscrupulous agents of our unprincipled government

starving to death out there on the edge of the prairie, Garrison old boy

you’d think they would give up but they never do

having nowhere else to go

and this land is their land

a fact we conveniently forget most of the time

and gays are being shoved in the hall at school

yelled at in the street and denigrated, raped

and beaten in the alley behind the bar

poor people are being overcharged, evicted, cheated,

left on the side of the road when the car breaks down

passed over when the choices are handed out

bankrupted by a broken bone, a divorce, a mistake on a form

the sick, the disabled, the mentally ill, the old

are disregarded, told they’re garbage, worthless

ready for recycling except we don’t bother to do that here

it’s too much trouble and who cares

about the earth, our mother, or each other, or the future, or our children

who cares? It’s get rich now

and devil take the hindmost, the straggler, the one who

if you listen to our leaders simply didn’t try hard enough

to make the grade

it’s how we roll

It’s happening now

while you are sleeping, badly like most of us

with horrid dreams you can’t remember in the morning

It’s happening now

as morally deficient hollow men in suits

stay late at the state house

making deals and passing bills

that swell their coffers

and appropriate your vote and steal your choices, shrink your paycheck

and impound your children’s chance at what was once called education

how to think and reason,

and your union, and your pension, pilfered,

and permit their paid thugs in their army duds

to violate or lock you up at any time the day or night

if you are in their way or just because they feel like it

or on a technicality – your bad you didn’t read the small print, sucker

and then take away your right to even say out loud or god forbid in print

in black and white the names of all their crimes

It’s happening now



Gillian Whittle is an artist and an emerging writer of poetry and nonfiction. She created “The Dreamer’s Art,” a workshop that focuses on healing and the enhancement of creativity through a dreaming practice. She is currently at work on a memoir about dreaming.