Wednesday, June 24, 2015

daybook poem day 2 (6/22/15)

Why I hate American History
has nothing to do with having
or not having or guns or flags
or powdered wigs or movies
with Edward Norton.It has no
thing to do with cigar store
Indians, Harriet Tubman on
the ten or the twenty & very
little to do with Andrew Johnson
who I was recently informed
is the only president to have
been impeached which is clearly
not the case because William
Jefferson Clinton was also
impeached, just not removed
from the Oval Office of the Blue Dress
& this is not why I hate American
History. The square office I sit in now
on this Day of Our Lord, June 22, 2015
is "lonely and austere" & has nothing
to do with love despite the black
& white photos sitting on the scanner
& anyway this is not about love
of History or the Nazi Channel
which I admit to watching too much
of, meaning I am now Middle Aged
but not middle-aged enough
to watch golf on television yet, which,
according to the dead American
George Carlin, is "like watching flies fuck."
I don't hate American History because
today, 6/22/15 anno domini, was
the day in 1992 that the "Teflon Don"
John Gotti was sentenced to die. I don't
even hate the America that sentenced
Sacco & Vanzetti to perish, or because
Abraham Lincoln wrote "shall not perish
from the earth," and so far has been correct.
This is all part of American History
but it is not America and I don't hate it.
I don't hate that you left me & took
what I most loved, I don't confuse you with
America, or her history, or other things
I do not hate. What I hate are the long
silences & the gap between this life
and the next, the self that continues
to slowly erase itself, the self that erodes
in small-town America. The life
that I don't hate but can't bear to live inside
but live inside anyway. I don't hate
Margaret Mitchell or racist novels but I
don't understand racism. I don't hate
racists, but I don't understand their
America. I'm trying to put together
a version of history that includes
harmless things like coffee mugs & tomes
of verse & children who don't have
the sort of life that prompts them to say
"why are White people so mean?" & children
who have never seen--or heard of a gun--
this is not the America I live in, neither is it
Whitman's America, or Thoreau's. I don't hate
dead white mean, bearded or not. I think American
History is a thing--incapable of thought or action,
thus not something to hate. This is why I
like the song American Girl by the still very
much living American Tom Petty. I don't
hate American History. I wish our America
could exist in small ways, like this photo I found
of little Rosa Jauregui, age four and a half,
sitting in front of tract housing, adjacent
to a railroad track in 1953. I don't hate
American History. I just don't like Americans
all that much sometimes. But this is not why
I hate American History. I keep trying to breathe.

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