America, I know your secret:
there is no deep intellectual struggle
fermenting in your collective mind —
that’s for the coasts to sort out amongst themselves,
with their isolationist disdain for solidarity,
thinking that beyond the Holland Tunnel,
above the Causeway bridge,
east of the valley,
over the Golden Gate
is some fetid quagmire of yet to be united;
and that the nation consists
of only its urban centers.
America, your secret is this:
your corporations, bloated with white-haired men
and Ivy League connections,
are selling youth and sex and freedom.
As long as we keep buying into the myth,
as long as there is no concerted effort below the surface,
as long as there are toys to occupy our time,
as long as supermodels and actors and pop Musicians promote our causes,
as long as becoming famous is more important than being intelligent or informed or educated,
no one else will want to get old, rich and powerful enough
to take your place.
Wasn’t it enough that you dumbed down the textbooks after Vietnam
to prevent the possibility of organized resistance?
Wasn’t it enough that your McCarthyism emasculated the left wing,
leaving the eagle of democracy crippled, flopping in useless circles?
Wasn’t it enough that even after Watergate, and J. Edgar Hoover,
Kissinger and Oliver North,
we still trusted your power-brokers in Washington
and believed they were representing us?
America, I know your secret, and it is the omerta of the pirate code:
keep ’em in hookers, rum and shiny trinkets, and
they’ll never want to own the ship,
but they’ll keep saluting your flag until they die.
29 APR 2004