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"The Wall (Running the Changes)" by Philip Fried - 45 Poems of Protest
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The Wall (Running the Changes)

... begins as a whisper in the orator's ear,
a wisp of concretion, a mere mnemonic standing
for all who are toxic and alien, all who are banding
together to break in and make us chant,
Build the Wall!

The Wall is invisible but substantial, with "bricks"
made of water vapor, dust, feathers, and soot,
whatever macro and micro particles float
in the air. The Wall is both there and not there.

Each day's devoted to the walling out
of those who incessantly want to come in; however,
there's no getting around our intention to bar
their entrance. The Wall is our collective will.

Walls differ in their national character.
The Manifest Destiny of the American Wall
is horizontal but also vertical.
From the molten core, it rises to reach a star.

The Platonic Ideal of Wall can never be equaled
in this world. But let it inspire us to imagine
running our fingers over its unending
heavenly high-early-strength solidity.

The Wall is a political-quantum particle
that is simultaneously pure metaphor
and palpable concrete. The ingenious leader
presents this as an essential uncertainty.

It's debatable whether the rubble around the Wall
represents the remains of anti-Wall anarchy
or of those who failed to make it through, or debris
that embodies and forebodes the Wall's future.

Call it what you will — potpourri, concoction
of concrete, slatted steel, concertina wire —
The Wall is the quintessential barrier
for keeping the future out and the past in.

Originally published on

In the spring of 2020, Salmon Poetry, Ireland, will publish Philip Fried's
eighth book of poetry, Among the Gliesians. Thomas Lux said about his
work, "I love Philip Fried's elegant quarrels with the cruelty and ignorance
of the world or, more precisely, its inhabitants."
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The Wall (Running the Changes)
Special Project: 45 Poems of Protest
by Philip Fried
(New York, New York, USA)
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