“When Was It Good” by Nathan Brown

Posted: June 14, 2016 in Vol. 8: Creative Writing

 When Was it Good protest-155927_960_720

“America can be great again”

“Men used to be men and women used to be women”

“Everyone is always stuck on their phones”

“The world is so violent now”

“Nobody is neighborly”


We were neighborly when our neighbors looked like us.

Xenophobia tends to breed a tight knit community.

It’s easy to be nice to people who think, act, and talk like you.

Closed off in your tiny world deceives you, your suburb is not America.


Violence is down,

needless, exploitative reporting,

Demagogues and scapegoats,

Fear mongering and finger pointing

is up.


Compare the arrogance of a Selfie to that of a Self Portrait.

Tweets and posts that have brought previously hidden injustices to light.

Just because it’s new doesn’t make it bad.


Men being men, beating Women being women.

Assaults being brushed off by police, the women were just hysterical.

Marriages held together by obligation and willful ignorance.

Boys and girls being shoved and squished to fit into a factory form box,

no matter how much of their true selves gets shaved away.


Make it great for whom?

The countries we bombed and democracies we toppled?

The women who weren’t allowed to vote or choose?

The minorities who were placed aside and pushed down?

Homosexuals or transgender people who were either the butt of the joke or receiving the brunt of the beatings?

America was never great, but maybe it could be.



Written for Dr. David N. Odhiambo’s ENG 313: Intro to Creative Writing



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