my so called america


this is my america   this is whitman's america

too big   too loud   too much

and altogether undefinable   currently


an america saturated with high-cal nastiness

in reality

we get along pretty well


like whitman i see us as one people 


not in divisiveness   but doing our best   sharing


not watching out only for ourselves   not always 

doing our best 

trying to do the right thing


this place   this terrace   lends itself to summary thinking

and the wine is good




we   marketa and i   meet colin and marcy at the vineyard 

watch the sunset 

which i won't try to describe   drink wine in the dusk


to the rising dance of fireflies   count stars   neglect to keep track


until sleep seems like the best of all possible things   we sleep  


morning brings out the aerialists   swifts   i sit with my tea

sunning   like the lizards

on the early morning   still cool   stones of the terrace


a corner of my mind is ill at ease   chasing me out of bed

into the light of day

all is not well   but it is good   this place


colin and marcy are good   if all is not well   

it is well enough   life is complicated




an hour's drive drive from here is a nascar track

it is saturday  

a race is in preparation   cars   pickups


rv's by the thousands have converged on this small town

in a noisy atmosphere of a fair day 

of abundance   of unlimited possibilities for pure   raw   pleasure


traffic is heavy   last night at the convenience store

the long lines told the story  

this is our america   raucous   perhaps drunken


but also this   a burly fathers holding his infant daughter

with no more avoir du pois

than a helium balloon   teasing and loving her   while mother and siblings


seek out best possible snacks among the shelves of treats so bountiful

as to make my eyes water   i buy a protein bar




that was last evening   our world   here

is nothing but quiet

that is until you begin to hear breeze and birdsong 


insects whirring and chit-chit-chittering

hum of vehicles

on the two-lane a mile away   tires on asphalt   shifting gears


this is a still life that is neither still nor silent

my discontent

may be fighting an uphill battle   yesterday does not foretell today


much less tomorrow   perhaps i can let it go for now

the sun

on my up-tilted face   gives rise to optimism  


heliotrope basking in this wine of rarified air   the distilled essence

of what once was common   now   something of a privilege




colin makes his way uphill from the stone winery

his stride steady   

steady in all ways   he makes me smile   he is utterly himself


inside and out   the outward appearance as always  

jeans   t-shirt

flannel shirt unbuttoned   flapping rhythmically with each step


blonde hair   red bandana holding it back   long legs   slender body  

blue-grey eyes

quiet   pleasing to the eye and psyche   


i say   good morning   he says   good morning  

while pulling up a chair  

we each wait for the other to speak   but the air and the sounds


and the vista obviate speech   at least for a moment

as it is   it is enough




when we do talk   i relate my ill-ease

we know each other   

he understands well enough to let me speak


offers no solutions   he is too clever for that

he listens

if i were a carburetor he could fix me   i am not   he cannot


but it helps more than i can say   we talk of other things as well

lighter fare   morning fare

soon enough   here come marketa and marcy


i am blessed   the disharmony in my soul

cannot withstand these three

not for long   the day is ahead of us   the agenda is wide open  


what will it bring   and will it end with dancing

to an american tune




marcy sets a bowl of cherries on the table   cherries

of the deepest hue   

marketa asks what we would like to drink


she and i go to the kitchen   make tea and coffee   pour juice   kiss

she tastes like me  

we bring the drinks to the terrace   this is a blue sky day


blackbirds   a cloud of them   rise from the wires  

make for a distant tree   alight

taking with them most what remains of my discontent  


i think of the burly father   imagine mechanics fine-tuning engines  

a campground thick with trucks and rv's

kids   parents   grandparents   pageantry   it is race day in america


what darkness lives within me is stilled  

i abide in an air of beneficence  




the vista is of vines running downhill

of more distant hills

of golden grass and california live oaks   huge   round   ancient


of a more distant range   beyond that   the pacific

beyond that   more pacific

to the south   san francisco   to the north   the russian river   mount shasta


further north   farms farmed by people wanting to be left alone

to the east  

three thousand miles of an american landscape   my america


whitman's america   sacajawea's   johnny appleseed's   sojourner truth's   

custer's   sitting bull's  

abe lincoln's   harriet beecher stowe's   becky thatcher's


tom joad's   woody guthrie's   billie holiday's   marilyn monroe's  

colin's   marcy's   marketa's   mine



we are nothing if not a place of high contrast   white wine

and mountain dew  

honky-tonks and queer bars   nascar and save the wetlands   


we picks sides   fight fair   fight dirty   disparage   denigrate

shock   impugn

hate   love   forgive   retaliate   pray   curse


we are disharmonious   foul our own nest

are anything but one people

yet   we are   because    here we are   we have no choice


this is our imperfect home   not all bad   not all good

merely huge

unkempt   rude   tactless


capable of astonishing cruelty   compassion   generosity

not one thing   not even many things   but all things




it is race day in america   i say   let's go the race   am i insane   

they assume so

later   at the race   among the beer and flags  


star-spangled and confederate   amid decibels

beyond all reckoning

we become part of a lovefest   it may as well be a dead concert


revival   ball game   carnival   art fair   veteran's day parade

shakespeare in the park 

it is an american day   we are strangers in a strange land   true


but no more so than anyone else   our conspicuousness

barely a mote in the scheme of the place

this microcosm   strange as it is   as we are   is ours


we are a part of it   we plant our flag   claim it  

my america   our america   and tonight there will be dancing




after we danced i wrote this   i read it this morning

it is silliness

not a word of truth


there is no america   there is only a concept of it

its existence is a state of mind

i live in a country called america   it means nothing


it is a place   i sleep here   i work here

it is an address

i happened to be born here   it could have been tibet


it could have been anywhere   there is no harmony in this place  

there is no us

it is silly to think otherwise   my discontent is back  


it is real   i don't understand it   writing this was a distraction   that's all  

good and bad people are everywhere   here too   here in my so-called america





Poetry by one trick pony The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 490 times
Written on 2017-07-12 at 05:08

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Kathy Lockhart The PoetBay support member heart!
This gave me chills. This is magnificent. Bravo!

Ghost of Heino
Show me hope. Wearing white pants killing hope.
Frying brown rice, readjusting order and yelling. It could never be Tibet. Yous got mountain banjo.

Epic, an excellent read of thoughts and life, it has a relaxed feel, despite the discontent running through it, maybe you were lost in your writing. Glad Woody got a mention!

Jamsbo Rockda The PoetBay support member heart!
I was just thinking about how you have not written anything for a while and now POW. This is a wonderful series of pieces. The title works so well in respect to the content and the contrast between quietness and celebration is inspired. "America" seems to be the only place in the world where people often cannot envisage not being "American". It is a strange concept considering you are so involved in world issues. I enjoyed this very much :)

You called it, "my america", and it's lovely and confusing and discordant and peaceful and loving. It is each person's experience of where they live. A really truthful and real poem when read in its entirety. From butterflies to Nascar! It's a lot to cover. Enjoyed reading this.

There is so much to this poem that I can only deal with part of it at this time. I love the first stanza, but begin to disagree with Mr. Whitman when he claims we do not live in divisiveness because I have never seen our country so bitterly divided, and I don't see people doing their best, sharing and not watching out for ourselves. There is no question that our country is divided not only in politics but it ideals. Families are divided to the point they can no longer celebrate holidays together, and nobody who differs can be nice about their differences. The differences are so huge in the ideals of each party to which they belong, that it makes it impossible for the two to meet on any point. Maybe in your area, they get along pretty well, but America is angry and it's in complete disorder. In my humble opinion. *
There's more to the poem, but I can't grasp it during this comment.

This is fittingly a poem of great scope and sweep: the language really takes off in some places: the great litany that begins "whitman's america, sacajawea's ..."; the asides that invite the reader in ("which i won't try to describe"); and so on. The first sonnet of the sequence might be too direct a preachment; still, there are things that I like about it, which seem essential to the theme. I shall have to re-read with less haste and greater care; but the initial impression is of a sequence that is both ambitious and successful in its ambitions!

KYREUS of Sweden The PoetBay support member heart!
So great philosophical
moods & meetings.

Like this story!

* Chris

ken d williams The PoetBay support member heart!