Monday, May 28, 2007

a place for us: somewhere a place for us

Let’s sunset the USA
let’s deadline it
flatline it
and start all over from scratch.
It has whitewashed us long enough
redlined us
white-lined and red-eyed us.

The amendment’s passed
the voting’s been done
with our feet.
Everybody’s in a reality show, even Dad
pimping rides, fighting tribes, swapping wives,
fishing the Bering Sea
barren of fish by 2050.
If Surf n’Turf at Sizzler’s gone
what’s left to miss?

Let’s sunset the old dear
but let’s not off it or waste it
let’s not take it out
or hit it
let’s not Nagasaki it
Haditha it
My Lai it
tough guy it.

Be gentle: we go way back
to the Delaware, to Antietam, to Wounded Knee
and Thunder Road.
Let’s let the country be a TV
left on in a room
on a rainy night
across from where we are
looking up at a flickering window
that was our home.
Even if we are
stuck in the bodega
across the street
rain on our shoes
with plaintains, tamarindo,
reggaeton and blingbling
the times they are a’cambiando
the rain it ain’t gonna stop.

What’s wrong with being a rolling stone?
Softly softly we closed the door
closed the door and stole away.

So let’s sunset the USA
keep the matter bloodless, bureaucratic,
let’s let it keep on lawyering and autopsying
and heart-to-hearting with the camera
there in that room
it doesn’t even have to know we’re gone
just let it keep on keepin’ on
archaic as TV
and as dumb.
Let it keep on shouting to itself
until the grid blacks out
one brutal summer
sweat on our shoes by the side of the road somewhere
too far away by now to hear the silence
in the room
across the street
from the bodega
where kids played way back when

Before Morning In America
was rerun, serialized (MIA)
like Groundhog Day
with Mitt Romney
and Bin Laden
sunset is softer
lines blurring
let’s do it
past tense it
midnight it

In the forest of night
no country
no master
breeze stirs
Who knows? Could be –
Whattaya say?


Note: this poem grew out of listening to a discussion of the Patriot Act on National Public Radio, where the verb “sunset” was used, and I thought, “sunset,” what a beautiful word for something so bureaucratic. While taking a piss I thought of the first line.

No comments: