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My Old House

 

After spending a lifetime searching for the good life,

And harvesting a handful of  broken marriages,

I finally returned to the old house my father built with calloused hands.

 

On a street in the city once an enclave for foreigners,

I  find a fiveplex rising up where it used to be.

Hoping to find my childhood home pregnant with memories,

Bland boxes of brick and glass now stare me in the face.

 

My eyes search for something familiar to cling to, 

But all I see are so many houses eaten up by the termites of time,

Unyielding progress that forgets everything in its path.

 

Progress sent a flood of immigrants to American cities far and wide in this vast land,

Like generations before them, searching for the illusive American dream,

Losing touch with family and friends itheir quest for adventure and fortune and fame.

 

How can I forget the people that made my block special?

Weathered faces etched with worry lines,

Strong men humbly carrying black lunchboxes and wearing drab work clothes,  

Hoping for an honest wage –  for an honest days work,

German, Polish, Italian, Norwegian, Irish immigrants,

And later Jews running from the holocaust.

 

All living in a fragile truce in the melting pot of the world,

A rare country that promised to be faithful to its founding fathers

Who bravely declared freedom and justice for all,

In a bountiful and merciful land open to all seeking opportunity.

 

Never once did my hardworking, courageous parents question that promise

As their weary hearts and hands bled,

Struggling to forge a new life with the hope of a future.

 

Fifty years later, fate has relegated the remnants of these newly-minted citizens 

To reluctantly wallow in self-pity,

Housed in tiny flats made for those who have no one to watch over them.

 

How could this singular hope for the downtrodden morph into a nation of fear?

Our knees grow weak at the mention of the whale of a national debt that could sink this nation,

While seemingly disgusted and disengaged workers

Stand in the unemployment line watching their jobs go overseas?

How did mistrust and hopelessness become the new normal for America?

 

Where’s the boom-time mentality, the voice of freedom,

With it’s promise of rags to riches, and a chicken in every pot.

It seems to have vanished along with my old house,

Eaten up by foolhardy politicians content to continuously raise taxes,

Open the borders without regard for our safety,

And impose an assembly line of new regulations that stifle growth,

All under the guise of progress.

 

No wonder our government is rife with intractable government officials,

Inexperienced and uninformed paper pushers paid far more than they’re worth,

And misbegotten leaders that mindlessly keep borrowing from friends and foe alike.

 

Evidently, those who have the power to give can also take away,

Mostly by trickery and deception with the hope of denigrating free-market capitalism,

While destroying our faith in government by buying votes from the largess

Taken from working people groaning under the strain of an ever growing government.

 

My soul rails for the immigrants who spoke with their feet,

In one voice heard round the world, 

Accepting the exceptional promise that if they were willing to give it all up to follow a dream,

There would be new beginnings for them and their children.

 

Was it a hollow dream that left my parents forlorn in their golden years,

With no loving eyes to watch them grow old,

And left me alone, with no one to remember me?

 

Buried under a mountain of guilt, momentous regret that can’t be denied,

I can’t help peering back on the ruinous rubble I left behind.

Why did I forsake my parents to worship at the alter of mammon,

To pursue the almighty dollar?

 

I can’t stop the bleeding,

When I think of my large, once close-knit family now scattered from coast to coast,

Doing their own thing,

Bringing up children begotten in second and third marriages,

Mixed families in blended families,

Trying to search for a place in this new America,

An America full of questions that the politicians never seem to answer.

 

Sadly, we live harried lives in dysfunctional families, as bills pile up at our door;

And we pledge allegiance to a country in turmoil, groaning, searching  for it’s roots,

As our children blindly strive for the promise of American exceptionality that no longer exists.

 

Americas deserves a second chance.

We need to feel the fire again, burning a hole in our bellies.

We need to raise our voices and demand to take back the dream.

We need leaders who love America!

 

I say, throw out the rats who sully our great nation with greedy hands and broken promises,

On their way to grabbing power as they degrad our beloved Constitution,

With mendacity dripping from their trembling lips.

 

How can I not ask the question, with tears flowing down my face like a river,

Where has my childhood home gone?

More importantly,  where has my life gone?

I feel like I’m part of a lost generation, searching for answers,

Opening my eyes for the first time to see the life I missed. 

 

Lost in a valley of hopelessness, surrounded by doubt,

I’ve conquered all the mountains I thought were real,

Yet my spirit is broken, my mouth parched.

Speechless, I’m hobbled by fear for what lies ahead for our once great republic.

 

No doubt, my lifelong trek was devoted to feeding my voracious appetites,

And ardent need for success.

Drunk with ambition, I ran forward without ever looking back.

Only now I  realize that those patting me on the back,

Were feigning friendship but ultimately seeking money,

Using their left hand to reach inside my wallet.

 

Like so many others yearning to be free,

My parents came here with hungry bellies and great expectations, 

Only to find themselves mulling over memories of the old country.

 

Did the seeds of tyranny come here with the rats on the boats,

Waiting to germinate in the disingenuous hearts of those intent on transmuting the truth, 

Waiting for the right time to spout their empty promises,

While all the time aptly hiding their desire to dominate and subjugate others

In order to declare themselves right?

 

It all begs the question,

Did the decendents of blind ambition, craving self-aggrandizement,

Eagerly follow the honest, hard working masses,

Like a bear sniffing for honey, 

Or were they part of the masses?

 

In order to preserve my belief in humanity,

I must believe its the latter, and not the former.

Shamelessly chasing glory, there will always be those among us who want to enslave others,

In their ravenous grab for power,

Under the guise that the common man must be governed …  for their own good.

 

The choices we make on the long and winding road of life define us,

I stumbled and lost my way, but that doesn’t mean America is broken.

We, the people, were chosen to be the guardians at the gate,

Make no mistake, each generation must do their part.

The framers of The Constitution knew the only way to save our beleaguered nation

Is for us to be diligent, like those of old, and to preserve the rule of law.

 

 

 

 

All Rights Reserved, Bill Bitetti July 1, 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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