Poetic License With America

Hope is a thing tarred and feathered—
Propped up and perfumed and paraded in front of us
As a testament to the everlasting glory promised us
In our star-spangled youth.
Our American Dream lies bubbling on the cracking asphalt,
Having boiled over in corn-syrupy sweet diabetic goodness,
Cooking in the glare of a 100 degree sun.
Overeducated and underemployed,
I measure my life in a million little coffee breaks,
Everything paid to me in credits while I pay with credit cards.
This is no country for young men,
Nor is it a place for black men, brown men, old men or women.
This country is a country for rich men; men with no names and no faces;
Penthouse men and oil men and men with a country, but no conscience.
This land is their land.
I saw the worst minds of my generation emboldened by avarice—
Gluttonous, bespoke, dragging punch-drunk women along marble floors,
Into glistening hotel bathrooms.
Heirs to the mendacity of their forebears,
They wrap their naked villainy in the tattered odds and ends of holy scripture,
Preaching the gospel of prosperity while practicing the gospel of privation.
As they revel in the gated glory of that shining city on a hill,
I grow old and wear the bottom of my trousers rolled
While wading through the shallow end of my childhood home.
Of freedom let no man speak:
Let us talk of shackles and of strictures—
Of fetters and of flames;
Let us press on, knock-kneed and coughing like hags,
Cursing through the tar sand sludge
As the shining seas close in on us and the fruited plains run dry;
While the spacious skies grow dark with acid rain and the heavens begin to cry.

Categories: Social Justice

Tags: , , , , , ,

1 reply

  1. Please – republish this on 4 July.

    Some of my Twitter friends tweet Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons, and Ginsburg’s Howl, 140 characters or less at a time, once a year.

    Maybe you could do that with this, on the 4th of July . . .

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