Monday, December 28, 2015

America America-- I am so tired of you

America America—I am so tired of you
And very near to saying I am through
You require so much petting and coaxing
To do the smallest right thing
Folk play ever more on your heartstrings
And even then you don’t do it.
Your truest friends prepackage their
Advice in microwaveable form
“In keeping with our deepest traditions….
“And military norms” –
Our what? Dazed and shaken
I am seeing stripes and stars
  (For any full encounter with either
  Would put the truest friends behind bars.)

America, how can you ask for such flattery -
Have you not burned children and women and men?
Is there any other nation that dares ask for such cossetting
To be convinced not to do it again? --
Oh America, you used atomic weapons against
A civilian population
And if the entire world ends it will be due
To weapons of your creation – and still you tell me:
“You must reassure me that I am the greatest nation
Otherwise, you get nothing.
Maybe if you tell me how great is my promise
And wonderful my turkey stuffing
I will consider listening to you” – I see the game you’re playing
The truest friends fall for it each time, I hear one of them now saying
“The military strategy propounded by
Senator Dollfuss and Representative Coughlin and
The Right Honorable Gerald L. K. Krupp is
Simply not first rate
  -- Yes, it really is beneath --
The excellent standards of excellence
That made this country great” –
In short, lying through their teeth

I am tired of the truest friends too
(Though not as much, America, as I am of you)

America, you get every single thing wrong --
Even the things you get right!

When you finally start up snorting
Like a hippopotamus from a sunbath
Your dimpled hippo brain thinks
It was the bird on the tree that woke you not
The mud beneath that stinks

America, I’ve even noticed that
When you killed people in the Philippines
It was because you were so very selfless
And every time you didn’t, because
For once you were too mean!
“We have to look after our own –
We don’t want to get involved in other people’s problems”
In short:
Every single time you make the right choice
  (From the consequentialist way of viewing it)
You make sure that first you’ve found the
  Very worst reason for doing it

One day, America, you will close the circle
And drop your outward pretensions
You’ll kill and be an isolationist –
Goldwater is your logical extension

America, you spend on every big war
But you care not a fig for
The savage penury of your streets where
            You relive your founding nightmare
And if ever you begin to shake and notice
Your own poverty, it will only be
Long enough to blame it on the English devil fish
America—you’d be funny if
You weren’t so deadly


Oh America, even now, after all this
You expect me still to close with some thrilling affirmation
Of your great destiny and exceptional fate
The wonders you have yet to perform –
As your other cajolers and advisers do –
I won’t.
You know very well I can’t promise you your future
After all, we might not be alive
You made sure of that yourself in
August, 1945

You have got to sort out your destiny for yourself
More, indeed than that:
You’ll have to do it without
Any special dispensation, but with the same
Crude tools bequeathed to every
Possessor of the mortal frame
Fighting like all the others against the evidence
Of your own human history and
Soul’s inheritance
And in the face of the knowledge of
What you have done and could yet do

Oh, stuff it America, I do love you

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