James Coburn

Tribes of Indifference
by James Coburn

All of the world is a terrorist to the land.
To people in the way of their vanity,
To interests made vague by their own,
To excuses to take other’s land for common good,
And deny the history of a people rooted there;
By men who devise pristine freedoms
But do not share them beyond self.

A chosen people chosen by themselves,
A terrorist to nature dying by one’s hand,
A terrorist by denying future generations comfort;
By mocking grace and all things pure
To celebrate a tribe as death lies in shadows,
Stepping forward by invasion.

People who do not write chapters of genocide.
Men who turn boys into legends of fear,
And fear provoking terror
Because nothing else is known.

Individuals locked into mobs
Without footsteps to rest,
Without reason to doubt,
Without a care of the distant jungle
Smitten by birds devouring
The young and aged;
And promise of wisdom vanquished by terror.

How is it that you are immune?
Locked in silence by your own denial
Of what convenience brings
For striking;
Granite towers are no more than straw huts
When a thought is loose.

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James Coburn is an Oklahoma poet, photographer and journalist. His first book of poetry, "Words of Rain," was a 2015 finalist for the Oklahoma Book Awards. His work has appeared numerous anthologies. A long­time journalist for The Edmond Sun, Coburn is a 2013 inductee of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame.