Americans of Irish Ancestry
Nothing means nothing at all
until historians knock, come in to call
and place their markers here and there.
Never knew what was happening, I swear,
until I read your best-selling book,
Mister or Missus or Mizz.
I was living through historic times
with no sense of a change, the range
of the stones we threw was paramount,
and as a revolution this would not amount
to much, but it did in Palestine. I am amazed
how the rebel Irish set the tone, dazed
by the way everyone else gets shot down
or clubbed or imprisoned, in India,
South Africa, Syria, you fuckin name it,
and I know we are the the guys to blame
for telling people to get off their knees
and stand up. Cousin Martin back in the day
was living in Amerikay, minding his own
bizness, getting along so easily as the Irish do,
when they fucked him into the military, sent
him off to Vietnam. I don’t like this, says Martin,
gazing on the departing body bags. I think this
could soon be me: no return to Éireann mo chroí!
It was a very bad war to send in the Irish,
because like the Mexican War a century before
they felt a certain sympathy for the other side.
Who’s beating the fuck out of whom and why?
Racism kicked in, and also loyalty to friends,
but it was a wrong war against the wrong people
with a need to make amends. I don’t know
if we can ever do so. Every single bloody war
America starts, and by God they start a lot of them,
the Irish are right there by their side. They say
they are Americans now. I believe that, how
could you not believe them? It’s in your face, it’s true,
but for God’s sake stop being stupid, stop being dense,
stop pushing, and have a little bit of sense! Our belief
is still with that Shining City Upon the Hill, and the will
to be a free people living in a free country.