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Another Military Coup, a Poem by Michael Shoemaker

shallow breathing - high piercing sirens screech in the streets -

crouching shoulders - whispers -

fences keeping enemies of the state in - keeping the will of the people out -

curfew enforced - four checkpoints to cross the city -

barricades - identification and documents key everywhere -

demonstrations of force by authorities to threaten underground resistance -

- an injury here - a disappearance there -

no assembly of groups over six people - the pounding of a door -

entrance without warrant - yanking of an old man from his bed of slumber - furrowed brows -

food lines - scarcity -

mother covering the mouth of her crying baby to not call attention -

puppet polling stations - secret police -

                 false accusations of neighbors for safety - betrayal -  

the stench of burning books and uncollected trash -

no electricity - all Internet down - suspicion -

one shot -

            entering a fleeing young man’s arching back - he crumples on the sidewalk in

a pool of his own blood -

a warning to all of us - the spirit and fight for liberty continues.




Global freedom declined for the 17th consecutive year. 

“New coups and other attempts to undermine representative government destabilized Burkina Faso, Tunisia, Peru, and Brazil. Previous years’ coups and ongoing repression continued to diminish basic liberties in Guinea and constrain those in Turkey, Myanmar, and Thailand, among others.” - Freedom House, November, 2023,


Michael Shoemaker is a poet, writer, and photographer. He is the author of Rocky Mountain Reflections (Poets’ Choice, 2023). Michael is a winner of the California State Poetry Society Prize and is on the shortlist for The Letter Review Prize for Poetry. His writing has appeared in Blue Lake Review, the High Window, The Penwood Review and elsewhere. His poems are anthologized at Poetry Pacific and Pure Slush. He lives in Magna, Utah with his wife and son. Michael was awarded a Writer-in-Residence at the Wollf Cottage in Fairhope, Alabama in 2025. He is an editor for the Clayjar Review.


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