M. A.  Schaffner

Plague Diary: Not A Post Script By A Long Shot

January 6, 2021

You can live your whole life without thinking twice
about the old love on the hill, clad in marble.
It bears some marks of age but so do we.

There are Visigoths happy to be Visigoths,
to worship a buffoon. I will not think
about what happened then, or happens next.

Domes do their duty when they give the sun
every chance to bless, a place to glow
and a warmth and light we can aspire to.

I completely forget how old I am,
along with how old is the love
I took for granted as we often do.

Still there’s beauty and science and sometimes truth,
but always the fickle cherry blossoms,
that every now and then fulfill their promise.

The Confederate Flag

The Confederate flag sings Heritage Not Hate
on a scratchy vinyl forty-five
with Colonel Sanders singing “Dixie” on the flip side.

The Confederate flag waved over brave men as they died
because they were white and conscripted
or Black and tried to vote.

The Confederate flag stands for Southern Pride
when pride comes from lack of melanin,
or books written on magnolia blossoms
and read in the light of a full, Grand Dragon moon.

The Confederate flag is the holy cross of Lyncherdom.

The Confederate flag was “politically correct”
when it went up in Columbia South Carolina
in Nineteen-Sixty-Two,
or took up half of Georgia’s in Nineteen-Fifty-Six,
and overstayed its day in Mississippi, goddam.

The Confederate flag smiled at Nina Simone’s funeral,
dropped n-bombs in the shadow of Mother Emmanuel,
makes white men yell “hell ya!” and shake their fists
with the self-righteous defiance of the wife beater
while their women wave it with lingering lust
for the days when a chained Django served their needs.

The Confederate flag performs oral sex on Republican senators.

If you sacrifice a virgin to the Confederate flag
it congratulates you for finding one in your family
and tells you your first-born son will Take Our Country Back,
and Shelby Foote will rise up from the grave
to impregnate your little sister.

Robert E. Lee loved him some Confederate flag,
till it gave him the clap and he lost his job.

Woodrow Wilson slept with it in the Lincoln Bedroom.

The Confederate flag is innocent until proven guilty,
which happened in Eighteen-Sixty-One as each seceding state
said Slavery, Slavery, Slavery till it came.

The Confederate flag was never co-opted
by violent white supremacist groups;
the rebel army itself
was a violent white supremacist group.

The Confederate flag is fecal coliform
at the barbecue of brotherly love,
a neon sign of ignorance hung
on porches, trailers, and pick up trucks
wherever hatred’s sold at discount rates.

It is the drunken cousin or brother who calls
at three a.m. to complain about libtards and elitists
and won’t shut up
for hours after you’ve put down the phone
and walked away.

M.A. Schaffner lives with spouse and pugs in a house built cheaply 110 years ago in Arlington, Virginia. Their work has recently appeared in The MacGuffin, Illuminations, The Writing Disorder, and the anthology Written in Arlington. Earlier appearances included Poetry Wales, Poetry Ireland, and Shenandoah. When not avoiding home repairs through poetry, M. A. wades through the archival records of the Second United States Colored Infantry (1863-66) with a view toward compiling a regimental history.