America 2011

I gave America a Labor Day party this weekend and it was a lot of work. The kids aren’t so much interested in fireworks anymore, but rest assured we adults still like our alcohol. America, are you tired? I know I am. Tired of the 50-hour workweek, or the

Exiled from Main Street XXXXII: with apologies to Allen Ginsberg’s poem, “America.”

I gave America a Labor Day party this weekend and it was a lot of work. The kids aren’t so much interested in fireworks anymore, but rest assured we adults still like our alcohol.

America, are you tired? I know I am. Tired of the 50-hour workweek, or the no workweek. Tired of 1 % of your population owning 40% of your wealth. Tired of record profits and thievery being subsidized.

I was not impressed with my Christmas bonus, America. I hear GE paid no taxes last year. I wanted to verify as much, but my electricity had been cut and the library was closed.

America, my publisher is down to 29 hours a week in the warehouse. How is he supposed to keep both his home and my book in print? Unemployment is in double digits, four times that for African-American males, with no line at press time regarding the underemployed, while the free market isn’t free for almost everybody.

Keizer is in New York without health insurance. I don’t like it one bit. America, keep your hands off my communism.

America, who helped build you? Do you not feel compelled to acknowledge them? You can take some of what I have and give it to them, but you won’t. Because you want it for yourself. Despite the fact that they have more to give.

America, when will you fulfill the promise that William Blake recognized in you? Poltergeist may have been based on a true story after all, what with the trail of tears flowing as it does with beer towards the casino.

Your people just don’t understand why the foxes need to be protected from the hens. America, very few hens ever become a fox.

Billy Bragg and Wilco are so upset over the state of the unions that they are issuing a Mermaid Avenue box set. A guy named “Jughead” recently urged me to vote down Ohio State Bill 5 in November, and anyone that can survive with that name must be right. America, I can match your silly mood, but your teachers will never be overpaid.

America, I decline your invitation to the tea party, although your guests share similar concerns. Michele Bachmann doesn’t recognize the difference between the day I was born and the day I died, either. America, I have much bigger fish to fry. Mitt Romney is now attempting to sound hip, which is sinister.

America, I don’t believe the gas companies when they say they will stop farting, or that in the future their farts will no longer smell. I can see through the television set. 

America, very few of us are indigenous to you, yet I’ve never been to Arizona.  

America, I’m ashamed that we even have to bring up gays anymore. Ginsberg wanted me to tell you he thought we would be long past this by now. America, let no man put asunder that which someone else deems holy.

America, I was asleep when your twin towers fell, but I haven’t slept since. America, this is your mind on Terror.

Congratulations, your War on Terror is as successful as your War on Drugs. Incarceration and exploitation of the poor, while lining the pockets of the rich. Mission accomplished, indeed.

America, remind me what was patriotic about the Patriot Act? And when will you call it “Abu Grave,” with 171 men still housed in Gauntanamo, the specter of torture hanging over both their heads and sentences?

America, your fathers would not have abided by such things. What’s it mean when anyone is executed without trial and you jump up and down as if you won a football match? America, I want my day in court.

The $680 billion dollars a year in defense spending buys us just how much peace of mind? America, I thought we agreed to never play it safe.

America, it’s not them bad Russians anymore. It’s them Muslims — them Muslims and them Iraqis and them Iranians. And them Muslims. You have 2.6 million law-abiding, peaceful Muslims, but no room for them at Ground Zero despite their shared loss.

America, I want to go on record saying the troops should just come home and beat me up instead. I’m throwing it out there. America, as you well know, I care more about them than you.

America, would you like to strip-search me? Well, don’t miss the glass pipe in my bag like you did last time.

America, in Europe the young people are rioting in the street instead of writing poems. I don’t understand why, when they can smoke pot and have decent mass transit. America, your young children won’t sleep in the bed you made for them forever. I preach to the choir, but only because I fear they are asleep.

America, I don’t understand why you have such an inferiority complex. 

People long to love you. Why else would every other movie have your name in the title, or Green Day put you in every other song?

America, I said it best 10 years ago, almost to the day. You will fall, as all civilizations have fallen, with stubbornness instead of grace, and last the day because of it.

America, I tried to put my queer shoulder to the wheel, but I just couldn’t afford one. 

CONTACT MARK FLANIGAN: [email protected]

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