America, You First

America you are a godless Peter Pan
A thug lobster with one big claw
A homeboy who sells his pals for popcorn
You should be locked up like a pigeon in a Mustang

Who can flirt with the magnitude
Of oranges and mountains
Against all benediction
And fields of crow testament
Stabs at us all like an airplane penis

Somewhere God grows an ox for you
To sacrifice to license plates and loneliness
How awful the beacon itches
Jumping around like eye water
Out of salvation on the closed path
A man may take an honorary degree
From tidal bore and killdeer
A woman surf hound the perverse knot
Unfolding like a grand piano
More Arabic than white on white
And your mailbox God still won’t notice

And what an odd home your Coke can
Idea of Florida dog days in heaven
Waving from the high shelf of church

Digesting your breakfast under
A hailstorm of dimples
Maybe another book of blank checks
Will do it will put the ants
Back in the basement
Call up in a Tibetan spring
Those raspers those clangers
Full of sour meat
In training for the dirt of life
Making their passage
From the crows nest to the heart
Taping their glands to the spine
Gone now and unkillable
As the desert floor

In a green plum house
Better than our white eyes
Elders of my generation
Went to war for you
Learning the true costs

Brother Grady Smith
Sat with me over a long dinner
Confided how he saved
His white sargeant’s sorry ss
From fragging two days
Before his hitch was up
Said he thought ten percent
Of the 58,220 names on the long black wall
Were Americans killed intentionally
By other Americans
And proud atheist Cpl. Pat Tillman
Calls from beyond Kandahar
To say…what…do you think

In the bump and stomp
Of five hundred river miles
Nothing fades nothing falters
America your speed boat
Filled with gin and oysters
Still skims easily over the waves

Maybe it’s time to let the sad painted bird go
Time to let him wear new costumes
Like an amphetamine widow
Thump against the TV train windows
Hang from the studio walls like a runaway gargoyle
Time to let her loosen the bolts in her feet
Shake her peckery skin so all the secret radios
And all the loud silences fall out
And not to worry, the sins of governments
Can dress the body

Listen now how a small brown cry
Scatters the midday pigeons
Lifting the mask just enough
For the subtropics to consider
How lightly still each village falls
How softly each premie each Sappho
Turns into grease on the mirror

2 responses to “America, You First

  1. A nation fallen into the rankest egotism, in which there is no ‘we’ and all the karma is bad. The small brown cry at the end I take as the death of an immigrant child in one of our custody prisons, lifting the mask that has drawn so many immigrants here, allowing them to see we offer them only death. A good poem.

    Liked by 1 person

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