history of america

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Independence Day for America the hypocritical, America the tangled mess…

The History of America
Alicia Ostriker

-for Paul Metcalf
A linear projection: a route. It crosses
The ocean in many ships. Arriving in the new
Land, it cuts through and down forests and it
Keeps moving. Terrain: Rock, weaponry.
Dark trees, mastery. Grass, to yield. Earth,
Reproachful. Fox, bear, coon, wildcat
Prowl gloomily, it kills them, it skins them,
Its language alters, no account varmint, its
Teeth set, nothing defeats its obsession, it becomes
A snake in the reedy river. Spits and prays,
Keeps moving. Behind it, a steel track. Cold,
Permanent. Not permanent. It will decay. This
Does not matter, it does not actually care,
Murdering the buffalo, driving the laggard regiments,
The caring was a necessary myth, an eagle like
A speck in heaven dives. The line believes
That the entire wrinkled mountain range is the
Eagle’s nest, and everything tumbles in place.
It buries its balls at Wounded Knee, it rushes
Gold, it gambles. It buys plastics. Another
Ocean stops it. Soon, soon, up by its roots,
Severed, irrecoverably torn, that does not matter,
It decides, perpendicular from here: escape.

A prior circle: a mouth. It is nowhere,
Everywhere, swollen, warm. Expanding and contracting
It absorbs and projects children, jungles,
Black shoes, pennies, blood. It speaks
Too many dark, suffering languages. Reaching a hand
Toward its throat, you disappear entirely. No
Wonder you fear this bleeding pulse, no wonder.

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afire with our history

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Fourth of July
John Brehm

Freedom is a rocket,
isn’t it, bursting
orgasmically over
parkloads of hot
dog devouring
human beings
or into the cities
of our enemies
without whom we
would surely
kill ourselves
though they are
ourselves and
America I see now
is the soldier
who said I saw
something
burning on my
chest and tried
to brush it off with
my right hand
but my arm
wasn’t there—
America is no
other than this
moment, the
burning ribcage,
the hand gone
that might have
put it out, the skies
afire with our history.

Photo by Le Kiet on Unsplash