“Shut up and dribble,” poetry by Tara Campbell

Shut up and dribble
Shut up and play
Shut up and stand for the anthem
Shut up and step out of the car
Shut up and put your hands behind your head
Shut up and bleed
Shut up about your wrongful death suit
Shut up about your rights

Shut up and take your mylar blanket
Shut up and get in the cage
Shut up and learn English
Shut up about where’s your mommy
Shut up and change the other girl’s diaper, and tell her to
Shut up about where’s her mommy
Just shut up and eat your apple

And shut up and cook our food
while we lock up your children

Shut up about the Emoluments Clause
Shut up about family deals in China
Shut up and drink the water in Flint
Shut up and sit in the dark in Puerto Rico
Shut up about your crumbling schools, and
Shut up about the bullet-riddled children inside

Shut up about the Alt-Right
Shut up about neo-Nazis
Shut up about full-on Nazis
Shut up about Tiki torches
Shut up about the very fine people on both sides
Shut up about swastikas on headstones
Shut up about human rights
That upsets our new totalitarian allies

Shut up about Standing Rock
Shut up about your treaties
Shut up about your land
Shut up about coal dust in the rivers
Shut up about pipelines spilling oil out of their seams

Shut up about the factories that haven’t reopened
Shut up about the coal mines that haven’t reopened
Shut up about jobs that don’t pay living wages
Shut up about jobs that have been automated
Shut up about jobs that haven’t come back from overseas
Shut up about the middle class
The middle class is not a right

Shut up about your wedding cake
Shut up about your equal pay
Shut up about your birth control
Shut up about your preexisting conditions
Shut up about your baby’s heart disease
Health insurance is not a right

Shut up about tax cuts
Shut up about budget cuts
Shut up about your Medicare
Shut up about your Medicaid
Shut up about your Social Security
You weren’t supposed to notice when they go

Shut up about the shining city on the hill
Shut up about the Statue of Liberty (she’s French anyway)
Shut up about the Melting Pot
Shut up about the American Experiment
Shut up about the American Dream
It’s not for you

This dream isn’t a wish your heart makes
but something you build
on stolen land
with your father’s money
and the shreds of a tattered soul

So shut up about all that
because all I want to hear
is the thwock of a golf ball
and the fiddle
and the flames

Tara Campbell (taracampbell.com) is a fiction editor at Barrelhouse and an MFA candidate at American University. Prior publication credits include SmokeLong Quarterly, Masters Review, b(OINK), Booth, Spelk, Jellyfish Review, Strange Horizons, and Heavy Feather Review. Her debut novel, TreeVolution, was published in 2016, and her collection, Circe’s Bicycle, was released spring 2018.

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1 Comment

  1. In other words, “shut up about everything that matters, because it doesn’t matter to me.” Such a sad reality, but I for one do care. This poem is very well done, talking about a tough issue in a simple and clear way that hopefully conveys how all the little dismissals really add up to something big. Well done and thanks for sharing!

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