Stars & Bars

Stars & Bars

what's it mean
when a symbol
changes
or stays the same
but loses
it foothold
in relevance?

when i
was a kid
our flag
was always
presented
in the horizontal
in red, white and blue
with the stars
in the upper left
corner

then
it changed
still horizontal
but with the stars
in the upper right

i remember
looking it up
once 
what it meant
with the stars
in a different corner
it said
it symbolized
something to do 
with the troops
and tours
of duty

but i noticed
that representation
of our flag
more and more
put out there
in ways
having nothing to do
with the troops
or their tours 
of duty
so i wrote it off
as a novelty
without thinking much
about the reason
for turning something
professed
as so precious
into a gimmick

now
it's fashionable
for our flag
to be
black and white
sometimes
with a blue stripe
and often
presented
vertically
and sometimes
manufactured
to appear
all faded
worn
and distressed

it makes me think
of symbols
that have slid
into relative
obscurity
compared 
to what they once were

it makes me think
of symbols
like peace
and black power
and swastikas

it makes me wonder
when a symbol
begins its slide
into irrelevance
or obscurity
if the only hope
of keeping it alive
is changing it
along with the times
while
even then
a modern take
of the symbol
representing
the thing
isn't enough
to relieve
faygo or rc cola
from taking a beating
from coke
and pepsi
or kmart
regardless
of changes
to logos
and catch phrases
getting its ass kicked
into obscurity
and bankruptcy
by walmart

i wonder
what it means
as symbols
change
like the known
shitty quality
of a dodge truck
so they change
the name
the symbol
and logo 
to RAM
in order
to rebrand
to distract
to put a new coat
of shellac
on the same old
turd

a shitty truck
and a shitty country
regardless
of their symbols
blasphemy
to patriots
who sing 
the glorious praises
of our country
patriots
standing
saluting
honoring
all the while
despising
most
of what that symbol
currently
represents

these patriots
with their sanctimony
for history 
traditions
values
for our precious flag
our honored brand
our revered symbol
that
at the same fucking time
they can't leave
the goddamned thing
alone
as it used to be
and maybe
as it's meant
to be
once you understand
it's not
the symbol
the logo
it's the goddamned brand
itself
that needs fixing

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