The Bread and Circus is Not Dead

Shane Michael Manieri reads his poem, The Bread and Circus is Not Dead.

– Song by M. Brookshire and L. Jaramillo

By Shane Michael Manieri

for W.H. Auden

I sit in my shotgun
Studio on 33rd street
Worried and concerned
About the state of America’s
Politics and leaders.
As the slow, unraveling
Demand of Intelligence
Dissipates: we have become
A nation of sports, trophies,
And beauty pageants.
Our selected few no longer
Beam beacons of light,
But darkness into the cabinet

Education has become scarce,
Breaching the gate
Of Nixon’s flood
That lowered the standards
To under a quarter or just above:
What kind of parasite is this?
I, and we all, know
That the Republic wants to
Keep the poor slap dashing
For independence;
Even Washington knows
That a Government is not about reason,
He said so himself.

And Hamilton, the Father of National Debt,
Thought, “The elite,
Intellectual, aristocracy should rule
The nation.” He was right,
We’re still feasting upon the crumbs
While top hat mentality rules,
The smell of mint still fresh in their minds:
Politicians know what I’m talking about.
Each country looking upon us with anticipation
In hopes that will fly
Up out of the ash like eagles
Craving Bread and Circus

Ruled by roller-coasters and
Tiny little morsels
The Romans knew how to
Keep their people happy,
Their desires fulfilled.
What grave matters dull the mind
Democracy’s under threat
Complacency keeps the time
I’ll speak for the dumb. I’ll rise up!
If all I have is the voice,
Let it be heard.
Let it spread like wild fire
Through the hills and valleys
My courtyard
For this is the land I love
Let the games begin.