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Poppy Poem

AP speaks truth into the mic. AP the Poet has wavy mid length ombre hair, hoop earrings, a colorful tattoo and a loving look out into the crowd. The water of the Loose Park pond is reflecting the trees behind her as AP shares her poem.
Photo by Jim Hannah

By AP The Poet

At the WW1 museum downtown, 
Just past the giant metal doors,
Right under the long glass bridge,
They planted a field of plastic poppies.
The plaque says they plant poppies to represent the people who fought for our freedom

But, I feel like they missed some people
So I plant poppies for protestors
For petitioners, for picket lines, and peace worker
We are a nation that forgets to give our flowers to the ones on the front lines here,
Our park at the plaza was packed with poppy people protesting, 
And Police poisoned the place,
Painting the property in the only poppy colored anything they’ll ever plant for us.
Read a pop-up poppy book to kids at the library,
Get attacked by a pack of prejudice provoked by their politicians
Piece the population with priests and proverbs

The past president’s party bans the poppy history from primary education,
Bans poppy pride parades and poppy athletes with paper thin policies
Patriotic pied-pipers promise prosperity
plaster propaganda on all their programs,

They persecute the poor for their poverty,
But don’t peek into our prisons,
Don’t ask ‘bout the pain and punishment,
Purge people, call ‘em property
Picket the planned parenthood
With their cherry picked bible book,
And pray for the unborn babies
But don’t protect the baby population that starves,
Instead,
Prioritize the privileged in their penthouses
And praise those who drop bombs from planes on our people
We are so picky about the flowers we plant,
Keep them fake and pretty under glass,
Hidden past the giant metal doors,
Only celebrate those who fought if they weren't on our soil,
But our soil is fertile land for a history of sprouting.

But I dream of a picturesque poppy metropolis. 
See the vines grow from sidewalk cracks and street signs,
Swallow the skyscrapers in scarlet petal posthumous paradise,
Pierce the courthouse, the city hall, the jails and the offices,
The apocalypse is a sweet scented spring
And sunrise is a sowing of seedlings,
Name them KC Tenants, 
Name them Decarcerate KC,
Name them The Sunrise Movement 
Name them The Kansas City Defender
Name them Peace Works KC,
I want to plant poppies for me,
And I want to plant poppies for you,
And one day this city will be so filled with precious poppies,
That doors and glass can’t separate us from that view.

—AP presented this poem at the 2023 Hiroshima & Nagasaki Remembrance at Loose Park in KCMO. She is program director for Poetic Underground KC, a cosponsor of the event.

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