Political Poetry: “Cruelty of Life” by Gary R. Hess

“Cruelty of Life” is a spoken poem about politics akin to slam poetry. It is an inner monologue about all of the cruelties in this world and what the world has done to us and to our fellow man. We look around and see nothing but hate. We see the struggles, we see the pain. We see that there is so much that goes wrong in our lives and in other’s lives that there can’t possibly be a future. But there is. And that does give us some hope.


The cruelty this world has seen is like nothing
is has experienced since Hannibal. Not the Hannibal
but Thee Hannibal. The one who slaughtered
thousands of soldiers in war. The irresponsible and unjustly
acts of the murderous and contempt-less Hannibal,
who would ride his gigantic stead into a territory
unbeknownst to this animal to crush anything and everything
in the name of strategy.

The difference today is that hate surrounds us–both
foreign and local. The hate we seek produces
exceedingly more hate that captures and destroys
each and every one of us.

War is war, but what about life? My life, his life, our lives. How do
we sit here knowing the cruelties that surround us?

Money and fame or money and shame?
We propagate our hate through capitalism
when our brothers and sisters starve,
as mothers tell their children, “We have
no food, but we have our love.”; “Our
roof leaks, but God will save us.”
We tell our brothers and sisters, “No,
you can’t go to school, you must work.”

What is work?
We spend our lives fighting hunger.
We already work to stay alive.
But what lives do we have?
What do we live for?

We tell foreign lands America
is more important. American lives
are more important. That is, more
important to our bottom line and
not more important to our consciousness.

Consciousness: The state of being aware.
Aware of what we do and what we say.
We are conscious of our actions only
when we see the result. Our
dead brothers and sisters are but 10
seconds of CNN we ignore. Ignorance
is the characteristic we must endure
in order to survive in a world of
misappropriated love.

The worst cruelty this world has seen is
inside each of us as we ignore
our brothers and sisters who need us.

Gary R. Hess

Gary was born and raised on a small farm in rural Kansas. Today, he is teaching various nationalities English in Southeast Asia. Get his newest poetry eBook here.

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