All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
Dreaming of Red, White, and Blue
My uniform is stiff, and I can’t help feeling
that my lips are burning on the cold metal mouthpiece;
The village square is deserted, and every step
on the hard, rolling bricks threatens to trip me as we march.
I wait for the chance to get away, because I see
him beckoning from the window of the china shop,
of the place where men are free, and all men are equal
including minorities, Unnaturals, and women.
The new American flag flying in the window is terrifying,
a reminder that I have to flee soon, or the inspectors will
tear my uniform off and expose me for what I am
when they come through the center of town
Inspecting for anyone who isn’t a white, straight man
Or for people who sympathize with those people
and when we stop for a bathroom break
I make a break for it, casually.
I stroll leisurely into the china shop, and I turn over
the special bowl, a red, white and blue bowl
that signals to the Russian shopkeepers.
I’m on your side.
I remember when I learned that signal from my boyfriend
He couldn’t take me with him then,
but he said to me, “You’re strong.
I know you can make it.”
They turn to me now. “You might be interested in our special,
fine china,” they said to me, leading me into the back room
just as the inspectors tore through the marching band.
I winced when I heard a club smack on bone
I was led into a giant dome, and I gasped
The stars twinkled in the night sky, moving on the roof
and I watched, awestruck, as Venus travelled across the sky
and Mars followed close behind
I wandered, wondering at the sights in the dome.
Women wandered arm-in-arm with women, and
some men did the same, but what got me most
was the red, white, and blue. Everywhere.
Then I noticed the person I loved most,
running towards me with a case in his hand,
the violin I haven’t played loudly in years
because of the ban on music. On happiness.
He swung me into his arms, and we laughed
and cried together, and he showed me the room
he’d been preparing;
Just for me.
My bedspread was a hand-sewn, American flag
not the flag as it was today, but the stripes of red and white
that everyone here loved; that is why we are here;
to topple the fascist regime
I gasped in wonder; he salvaged all my music books
and my french horn, clarinet, viola, and cello;
all that was lost was my string bass, which
was used for firewood when they rationed us down.
I pulled up the stand, fixed it in place
pulled out a piece of music, and unpacked my violin
which seemed to jump into my hands
waiting desperately to vibrate with music again
And I played, and I played for everyone there
I played to spit in the face of the fascism
ruling our country, to spit on the government.
I played the Star Spangled Banner.