July 4, 2020

we normally barbecue burgers
let potato salad wilt in afternoon heat
spit watermelon seeds against oak trees
raise flags, drink iced tea and warm beer
as dusk draws down
into purple, and then black
punctuated with shimmered light

but this year
hollowed out,
we pick ourselves up
read these words
and hold them to the light

we lost our way
have allowed this destruction of life

he bends justice watching it break
binds judges to his will
muffling justice’s voice

abdicates responsibility
abandons us without protection
sacrificial lambs to his economy

pummels, incites, excites division
stroking, always stroking
his fragile ego

a death clock ticks
130,000 dead and counting

now is the time
end this long train
of abuses
of tears
of death

The Founding Framers

copyright/all rights reserved Audrey Howitt 2020

Note: On July 4 this year, I sat down to read the Declaration of Independence and was struck by its language. This piece grew out of and tracks that language. 


  1. I wish I could say that I didn't understand where this one was coming from. But I can't--the pain and outrage and truth is shared. We must indeed, continue to fight to find a way to stop the atrocities.

  2. It is a different summer for sure............he continues to behave in ways that would never be allowed of anyone else and I fail to understand why there are no strong forces to stop him.

  3. Well put, and it seems most of us follow your train of thought. Let's hope enough of us do!

  4. The pain, the outrage is palpable even for those of us outside of the US. Atrocity in any form is and should be deemed unforgivable. The time is now and we will indeed put a stop to tears, abuses and death.

  5. A sad time indeed for the US and for caring hearts outside
    Stay safe. Thanks for dropping by my sumie Sunday today


  6. this summer just didn't have the magic of the 4th. it was forlorn and melancholic for some.

  7. Beautifully written, and sad that it was necessary to write it. I think you're spot on about the 'fragile ego'.

  8. Viewing the USA from afar other nations must be aghast that such a proud and powerful country is crumbling with the inept treatment of the Covid 19 crisis and its total indifference towards it's own citizens. Many nations over the centuries have fallen through such treatment of its people.

  9. We have lost our way as a nation. We have never been perfect, but today it almost seems like we love our imperfections. Let's hope we find the true path soon, my friend. Loved your work, as always.

  10. So many have been sacrificed already, with people practically lining up to give up their oldest and youngest for some false sense of "normal". Sadly, I think things will get worse before they get any better.

  11. Thank you. The time has indeed come to stop the runaway train. May it happen decisively on Election Day!

  12. "thoughts closed book" ... is a fascinating phrase that will stick in my mind. So many possibilities there!


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