Obama Goes Rogue, by Emer Martin


I dreamt that Obama went rogue.
In the last days
As the monsters are lining up
To devour and dismantle
And shut us all up
And make us scramble
And struggle even more
For the little we have now.
I dreamt that he rose up and became
The man we thought we were voting for
The man we twice believed in,
The man who was such a natural leader,
He gave us his style and his grace,
But we needed more
We needed
The hope and change
He promised
Not the Deporter in Chief,
Not the predator drones
Not wars without end.
What we needed was
Separation of bank and state
What he gave was more Wall Street insiders
What we needed was protection of our food sources
Not a parade of Monsanto goons in key positions.

I dreamt
In his last days
Obama was not creeping around Europe
With false assurances
Of the stability of our democracy
Promoting toxic trade deals

I dreamt in his final hours he pardoned
All the aging black panthers locked up and left to rot,
Including Mumia Abu-Jamal, 30 years in solitary,
And especially the native leader Leonard Peltier, 40 years in jail.
I dreamt he pardoned
Edward Snowden, and Chelsey Manning,
Who have sacrificed so much
To tell us the truth, but the truth did not set us free,
For we shrugged it off,
We will only remember them when
The hunt begins
We will only remember Chelsey and Edward
When we hear the knock on the door.

I dreamt he closed every private prison,
Every charter school
Every immigration detention center
And released all non-violent offenders
And stopped every standardized test
And gave amnesty and citizenship to all here.

What if this was all you saw of America?
A great weapon in the sky?
All seeing yet
Hovering over your unpaved streets and mud roofs,
An iron eye of death blinking you to dust
I dreamt that Obama tore up,
His kill list
One in three murdered were civilians
He put a 17-year-old girl on the hit list
He murdered
A 16-year-old boy, the Whitehouse saying
“He should have had a more responsible father,”
Then sat at a table with his own teenage children.
Safe and sound,
Droning on,
As a reaction to criticism,
He redefined the term “militant” to mean “all military-age males in a strike zone.”
So nothing means anything anymore when words can euphemize horror
The language of diffusion was never put to rest under his watch
Collateral damage
Extraordinary rendition
Advanced interrogation techniques
Ongoing, relentless.
If there are no more civilians
The strike zone
Is home.

I dreamt Obama channeled Eisenhower’s vision
And called a halt to the 60% out of every tax dollar
Going to the military
I dreamt he stopped selling the Saudis weapons
In order to protect the people of Yemen.
I dreamt he ordered that the billions sent to Israel
Were no longer military aid
To buy U.S weapons,
Our tax money could be used to create a state
Where all people who share that land are protected and thriving.

I dreamt that today Obama knew what to do.
And how to be forgiven
For what he has done
And what he failed to do
Finally, I dreamt you, President Obama, in your last days
As the most powerful man in the world,
Remembered you had been adopted by the Crow nation
And bestowed the name Kooda Bilaxpak Kuxshish
A name that means, “One Who Helps People Throughout the Land.”
I dreamt you honored this name and flew Air Force 1 to North Dakota and stood with The unarmed native people of this land,
The water protectors,
Under attack this night, state police lobbing grenades at them, private security firms Setting dogs on them, their eyes stinging from tear gas, their heads punctured with Rubber bullets,
Their brown bodies blasted with water in sub-zero temperatures.
Remember them?
The first humans on the land?
They are still here, the native people
Despite us
They are still protecting the land and the water
For all of us
I dreamt you remembered that your blood parents were dead when
You graciously accepted your tribal adoption, and said
“I like my new name: Barack Black Eagle. That is a good name,”
You, who had given so much hope when you said.
“I understand the tragic history. Our government has not always been honest or truthful in our deals.”
Awe Kooda Bilaxpak Kuxshish
I dreamt you used your Crow name, as you landed in the fields, and stood in front of the White authorities in tanks, and the militarized police force protecting corporations,
And raised your fist and shouted out.
“I Kooda Bilaxpak Kuxshish have arrived. Water is life!”

I dreamt that you found your friend Kendrick Eagle, a member of the Sioux Nation at Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota, who is camped out in the cold. I dreamt you greeted this young Indian man you once met, whom you had publicly praised for raising his younger brothers, the young man whom you and Michelle brought to Washington and rode with him in the motorcade and went to a game and ate Pizza. I dreamt you found him and stood with him.

“You gave us hope, a lot of hope,” Eagle said as he pleaded with you on YouTube this week to support their struggle, support the Earth, stand up to the monsters. Be the man we all once hoped you were.
Eagle spoke, with a half-sad smile: “It was a great time. You said, ‘Let’s not make this just a dream,’ and right now it kind of feels like it was a dream, because you said you had our back, and here we are.”


You can donate to the Official Standing Rock Sioux Tribe DAPL Donation Fund here.


Emer Martin is the American Affairs Correspondent for The Bog Cannon. She is a writer and an artist. Her first novel, Breakfast in Babylon, won Book of the Year 1996 in her native Ireland at the prestigious Listowel Writers’ Week. Houghton Mifflin released Breakfast in Babylon in the United States in 1997. More Bread or I’ll Appear, her second novel, was published internationally in 1999. Emer studied painting in New York and has had two sell-out solo shows of her paintings at the Origin Gallery in Harcourt Street, Dublin. Her latest show was in The Whitney Modern. Her third novel, Baby Zero, was published in the UK and Ireland in March 2007 and released in the United States in 2014. She has published two children’s books, Why is the Moon Following Me? and Pooka. She has completed her third short film, Unaccompanied, and produced Irvine Welsh’s directorial debut, NUTS, in 2007. Emer founded the publishing cooperative Rawmeash in 2014. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2000.