[The Road is Out.]

The road is out.
It’s just a two-laner,
but I don’t know any other way
to get to the nearest town.

We were out for a stroll
after lunch yesterday
when a car pulled over
and the tourist who was driving
asked us how,
but I said we didn’t know.

He went on to explain
that it wasn’t the town he wanted
but the military cemetary that lies
halfway between.

The road is out
because a piece of the cliff
has broken off.
In the storm, like as not.
I don’t know where exactly,
which is what must have promted
the dream. Very FX.
Spooky light at dusk.
Then the sea-side of the cemetary
c o ll a p s e s
and the coffins
go bouncing down the cliff,
splashing into the waves,
skeletons coming apart
in a great symphony
of bones on rocks.

I thought about it all day.
All those peach-faced young men
come to die in some strange place
and all for what?
In the name of a democracy
their parents never knew anyway?
I mean, who in America
ever heard of democracy nine-to-five?
What Americans have
is weekend democracy.
Like a hobby you can indulge in –
on your own time!

Free, in  America?
Free to speak your mind out?
In some National Park maybe,
if you talk only to the bears.
[Is it true they will soon
be on the auction block too?]
Anywhere else
you’re a consipracy theorist.
Free in America?
Yeah, as ‘nardo sings
in West Side Story:
free to wait tables and shine shoes.
And how many Americans know
that pioneering use of napalm
was first carried out on a French town.
Royan. Look it up.

America didn’t just get sick
before Obama, you know.
Or the Bushes.
Or Clinton…
or Regan…
or Nixon.

America’s been sick
a long long time.
Maybe ever since Seabiscuit
won at Santa Anita.
Maybe since Roosevelt died.

America doesn’t know
the meaning of the word democracy,
doesn’t understand
that it is the inverse of capitalism,
which will ceaselessly destroy
any semblance of democracy
that manages to survive
the banks’ stranglehold.
The same overgrown monsters
that poor people bailed out –
will be bailing out…
probably forever.

Every time I think about going home
to die; like an elephant,
something happens in Europe
that reminds me why
I’m still hanging around “the old world.”
Last time it was the Scottish vote
to ban GMOs.
No, things are not perfect here,
but milk still tastes like milk
and bread like bread.
And no one is trying to pass off
genetic engineering
as genetic “modification”…
which is just selective breeding
and natural as grasses one day made wheat.

I don’t care how long the road is out,
I’m stayin’ put.
America has been “at war”
for as long as I can remember
and as four star General Smedley Butler
so eloquently summed it up: war is a racket.
May as well live in bootleg Chicago.
The America Americans dream about
isn’t the America they live in today.
And it’s their own damn fault.




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