For Allen Ginsberg

I can hear you breathing, America
Will you catch up with me
Dangling your embittered and jealous umbilicus
Asking
Who among you when your child asks for bread
Will hand him a grenade?
It’s not some dark sin that hides you
That tangles itself between your hunchback slouch
Taking the offense
And turning it to saccharine misgiving,
Writing manifesto after manifesto
In depressed Republican villages,
Burning books
(besides, who reads?)
That betray the lies:
The absence of a common enemy
A booming peacetime economy
Unprecedented availability of information.
No one wins this anti-trust action,
America,
I can hear you breathing,
Sweating,
Cursing your unseen enemies
In the absence of the rear view mirror
I was young, once,
But you were born to bed pans and liquid food,
To hearing aids and walking sticks,
To constipation and incontinence.
Can you hear me, America?

2001

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