In This America

In this America deer
is not game and squirrel
is to eat.

In this America hunger
is never in season
or out of.

but is.

In this place
the game warden
knows who hunts for game

and those
who hunt for food.

In this America the trophy
wife fucks the pool boy.

They do not screw or make
love.  He plays the part.  He

doesn’t matter.

In this America, Pleasure
is meaning,

and not.  She is satisfied,
and not.  He

doesn’t matter.

In this America the body is a page
the mermaid’s black hair
caressing her torso

as it falls below her shoulders
braiding the inked
strands of green kelp

floating up from the wrist.

And, too, studs & piercings—
tongue, nose, nipples and dick.
In this America, beauty

is truly skin
deep—runes & hieroglyphs.
And all advertising

the truth.

In this America, the mountain
pulls the coverlet of snow
over its shoulder.

It is inscrutable,
or would be, if one
looked up.

In this America the clichés
Are real as casino chips,
dice & spinning slot machines.

In the fluorescence of this America,
everything glitters:
the pole dancer’s sequined thong,

her smile, the bottles
behind the bar, the gold chains
around his neck.  In this America—

Everyone a Winner!

In this America the sun
peels the once bright paint
from the single wide trailers

drifted up at the bend in the creek
beyond the end of the county road
where those who are beyond

The End of the Road
watch the sun peel
the once bright paint.

In this America the God
of this America is somewhere
speaking in tongues

and the Chosen who hear Him
through his writhing vessels
know the Truth of the words
they believe they understand.

In this America, God
has come unto us as a Snake
and we pass Him hand to hand
because He surpasses all
understanding as we tremble in fear—flesh
of His flesh.

In this America God
lives in a Crystal Cathedral
and all are blessed in electronic vision
as they fill the virtual offering plate
with real dollars week after week
to be healed and sanctified through
the Power and Glory of Preacher
Bob who is His humble servant.

In this America the God of this
America walks on electronic water
and turns the water into Champagne.
And most wondrous of all, in this America,
God turns our Fear into Hate and we

shall call it Love and Righteousness Unto
The End of Time in the Glory of His
Power which is our fear that we
are not, alas, truly sinners but only
lost in some Wilderness that truly
doth surpass all understanding.

In this America Daddy takes
his Son to the titty bar
and out to fish.

Momma takes Missy
to the Laundromat.

Missy has lace panties
& Momma cotton.

Daddy likes lace.

In this America, the old woman
sitting in the room at the home
no longer remembers the names
for the faces that come through the door

but remembers the dust between her toes
on the walk to school and the feel
of flour sacking over her hips,
and cool buttermilk after a bite of cornbread.

In the room, the faces that have come to visit
watch the game show on the TV in the corner—
that choreography of host and contestants

that she doesn’t hear as she listens
to her brothers and sisters splashing in the creek,
as she splashes in the creek as she
is there, is then.

In this America, America
means everything just like
cool and dope and bees knees
razzmatazz.  America—Now
Fortified with Vitamin Liberty.
Pass me The America.  Things Go
Better With America.  America: The Fall
Collection.  The Season Finale.
Dancing With America. America’s
Got America.  I’ve got big hands
and My America’s bigger
than your America.  This Sunday
Attend the America of Your Choice.

In this America, children
have guns,
and clean water
is a lead pipe cinch.

In this America you die
fast or slow.

You choose.  Oh, Freedom!

And remember: pledge
your allegiance, cause
there’s liberty and justice
for all.

In this America a man’s truck
is his castle,
and a woman’s place
is in the home

after her shift at the All-Nite
diner out by the Interstate
as she rustles up
your breakfast and brews
your coffee.

put a little sugar in that,

In this America, he
and she both know
every bed in the No
Tell Motel,

and as he
lets her pretend she
doesn’t, he watches

as she slides her jeans
to the floor, bending
to offer a third eye

and humming
Stand By Your Man

or maybe I Fall
to Pieces.

In this America, America
is the name we give
this somewhere as if all
other somewheres
mustn’t exist.

In this America Duck
Dynasty is not a joke
’cause Reality TV is
Reality, and hick chic
is not a schtick and nuthin’
says Don’t Tread on Me
like K-Mart Camo,
some chaw, and that nice
T-Bone on the propane grill.

After school Daddy
always takes his baby
doll for an ice cream
after he lets her do
their special secret—
the one she mustn’t
tell because only they

She likes
vanilla with Rainbow
Bright sprinkles.  He
wipes her chin and takes
her home.  He watches
her walk into her room
and close the door.

Tomorrow they will again
be redeemed.  Tomorrow
he will buy her ice cream—
vanilla with Rainbow
Bright sprinkles.

In this America we live
as if name and place
still marked us as real

in that litany of Aunts,
Uncles, and Cousins: of who
cleaved unto who and who

begat who and who fell
into a darkness so that their
Name became a silence

as if they had not been.

In this America there is still
an Old Testament of the stories
you once heard.

But no one tells them.

In this America we turn
each week to America’s Biggest
Loser.  Oh, Rachel and Zeke,
George and Amanda, we pray
for you that you might take our pounds
away.  We bless you for having
stories to tell and idolize you
for seeming real.  And we believe,
oh truly, that the camera and screen
could make us real in your image:
Oh flesh of our flesh, the Power
and Glory and Amen,
the losing forever.

In this America you cannot
use food stamps for beer
and smokes.  In this America
meat is not enough.

In this America we believe
in the Word
of the Founding Fathers
as if our fingers have traced
the graven stone—

our faith assured in the chain
of he saids that he saids that
They Said as talk radio speaks
the Word so that we do
truly know the Word
the Fathers must have

And the Word doth proclaim
Thou shalt be a Christian nation
and Thou shalt have the right
to dangle an AK47 across your chest
and stride into the Walmart of your choice

and all the women shall follow Thee
up and down the aisles of your
shopping cart, their eyes damp
with submission as you lead them
into that promised land

of your bidding, the bondage
that shall make them free, and they
shall worship Thee in the faith
that you believe in the Word
of the Founding Fathers
as you have heard that Word—

the truth, white and pure.  The
truth that shall save us from
the black letters of what
was once written and would
betray us into a wilderness
of words.

In this America, the woman in the stiletto boots
and designer jeans with the curlicue stitching
like tattoos on her perfect pilates ass
and the silk blouse all bordello frill and cute
cowboy hat has moved here

to be authentic—as if Dale Evans
bought her costumes in Paris
and didn’t know the difference
between the ranch and movie set.

Sipping her latté, she gazes through the plate glass.
The hills are like a painting.
She imagines horses running, sun dappled and sleek.  She
likes the painting.  She doesn’t like you—

your boots work worn, your truck
work worn, you work worn.

She likes the picture better
without you.  She wishes you’d
move away, but where could you go,
in this America that is her America—
the one that no longer seems yours.