National Anthem

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There were psychopaths on the day shift
And some on the night shift too
So they flew in a fun guest speaker
With a degree from the NYU

We didn't get paid for coming
Coz they said "this is all for you"
But we got to keep our name tags
And a Safeway voucher too

I assumed my place in the belly
Of the serpent snaking home
A four-tyred scale in a radio haze
Passing our prey along

They were raising the flag as a question
Of red, of white, and of blue
As the sky set fire in pinks and reds
And blackened the towers and rooves

We have children behind razor wire
We have women who have grown, shaped with a fear
We have men who swallowed a war
That fed them with hunger
So all that they wanted was more

And you ask, do I love my country?
And I answer: what is love?

Nobody knew the national anthem
In those stifling assembly halls
We just opened and closed our mouths in the hope
That somebody else had the words

And I remember this kid from The Centre
He'd memorised every line
And he'd walk home alone or in a hail of stones
And sticks in the cold street light

We have children behind prison bars
And city towers full of empty beds and baths
We have something that burns on our tongues
The answer we know but the question's eluding us

And you ask, do I love my country?
And I answer: what is love?
What is love? What is love?

And you ask, do I love my country?

~ Brendan Bonsack

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