In 21st Century America, we have a capitalism problem, which poet Daniel Olsson takes to task. How long will we value profits over people? How much, or how little, is a life worth?

Land of the Dollar

In my country,
The land of all knowing,
It costs a dollar to be human…
Those of elder wisdom claim they remember the day when a heart cost only a nickel,
Not an outrageous dollar…
A dollar must be paid to break the leg,
To shatter the bone and make the memory of pain nightmarish for moments on,
The poor cannot afford weak bones…
A dollar must be given to pass go,
The get out of jail free cards expired with the loss of the radio and the death of activist circles,
Those of the downtown neighborhood laugh at the idea of free cards,
Being an animal is always free,
Being human is what costs money…
You must donate a dollar to speak freely,
The illusion of your voice was the only free thing the schools will give you,
The bill-board tramples the alto,
A TV can rob their ears and give only eyes to see your skin-tone,
And the internet forges the bubble of dollar-filled admission tickets…
Please surrender the dollar for your vote,
Who are you to tell us how the world should turn?
No claim to fame, no parents of willing might,
Only a one-bedroom apartment and a bus ride to work,
Stay home and let the rightful pick the process of our future…
In my country,
the land of the free,
A dollar must be stolen to salvage today,
To breathe was never a right of life,
But a right of passage if you earned your dollar…

©Daniel Olsson – 2021

*****

Daniel Olsson is a poet from Bloomington, Indiana who has been writing poetry for the past eight years. Daniel’s writing revolves around contemporary society, including the topics of economic inequality, environmental justice, social issues and international relations. He can be found on Instagram and Tumblr as @apoeticcookie

*****

For the first 100 days of the Biden administration, this website will feature a new poem of What’s Next!? These pieces can be calls to action, calls to attention, or calls to anger. They will light the way and guide the fight. They will get us moving and keep our momentum. They will be filled with hope, with anger, with sorrow. They will get us into good trouble and point out the trouble we need to stop. They will be polished gems, or rough-cut drafts of rage, or in-process pieces searching for peace. They may be haiku or tanka, limericks or lyrics, verses free or fettered.

#100Days100Poems of What’s Next!? wants your poems, your prose, your visual art (photos, drawings, sculptures), your music, your short films and animations. Interpret the theme as broadly as you’d like.

If you would like to submit to this endeavor, please send an email, with your visual art (as .jpg or .pdf) or your poem saved as a word document (.docx) to waxyandpoetic AT gmail DOT com. Include a short bio (2-3 sentences) and social media/website information. All rights remain with the author. Please address any formatting preferences in your email. Waxyandpoetic.com will post submissions time permitting, with at least one per day beginning 20 January 2021.

Read, follow, share, submit, live, love, spread light! Don’t forget to use #100Days100Poems !

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