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America, you’re not so beautiful anymore.
Your mop water runs red,
bags under your eyes
so blue they’re almost black,
but at least your skin is mostly white.
America, every day is your birthday.
Every meal is a birthday cake.
Your waist is shameless in its waste.
It’s okay. You’re lovable
even when you’re unfuckable.

Did you hear the fireworks?
The neighbor’s dog won’t stop barking.
Ever wonder how many gunshots
go unnoticed in the noise,
how many bodies get found
days after the party subsides?
America, your breath reeks of beer,
and they named it after you.
It’s okay. A car crash won’t kill an idea.

America, I’ve stopped loving you,
even as you have stopped pretending to care
about anything other than yourself.
The fireworks flash in showers of spark
and awestruck mouths gasp in the glory
of their jellyfish embers, emblazoned
against a backdrop of indigo sky.
The charcoal briquets in the charcoal grills
turn gray and white with heat,
scents of seared meat and smoke
drift through the dew-drenched yards
of America, celebrating independence

from terror,
from suicide bombs,
from water scarcity,
from revolution.

America, I still believe in you,
even as sports stars and movie stars
and rock stars and rap stars
continue to let the homeless starve.
Even as we enslave ourselves
to the cell phone.
Even as rapists get lesser sentences
than simple possession charges.
America, can you hear the gunshots?
Can you hear the explosions?
The cries in other tongues?
There’s a world apart from us,
and it is suffering.
America I need you.
I need to believe your silence
is indecision
and not indifference.

Written by

Provocative truth teller, author of 14 poetry collections. Cat dad. Dog dad. Currently working from Portland, Oregon. Learn more at: .

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