An American Poem

This is an American poem;
I should insert
a nature image here.

I should purple
the mountains up,
like a god. Then I’ll chew

the scenery
until there’s nothing left
to suck from it.

This is an American poem;
it contains a rigged dance
of myth and cynicism.

In here we
we step on 
each others’ toes

then apologize nonstop until
the pain becomes so strong
we cannot help but lash out.

In every true American poem
there should be exuberant
ghosts and the sound

of babies, crying, screaming,
playing. Doing all the things
American babies have always done.

If you write it, they say:
Not the babies, please. Leave
the babies out of it, they are precious

and innocent. Bah, humbug,
you say even though it’s 
the Fourth of July. The Fourth

of July is built on dead children,
uses fireworks to justify 
a war everlasting.

In every great American poem
should be an America over half
of its readers do not recognize.

What’s that about ghosts? Don’t you 
recognize yourself in there?
Still cheering, still writing,

but reversed. A good mirror
shows you your other side.
A better one shows you more than one.

This is my American poem and if it’s any good
it’s chafing you like the dish on the table
with the turkey and all those sides

while the country, the nation,
even the purple mountains above it all 
look at all of us wondering

where they went wrong
that this is how it feels now
to write an American poem.

About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

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