Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016

America [VIDEO]

in Politics by

after Allen Ginsberg

America you’ve stolen everything and now I have nothing.
America $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, 2016
I can’t stand my climate anxiety
America when will you end your wars of terror?
Go fuck yourself with your 7,000 nuclear warheads.
I haven’t had my fair trade coffee yet don’t bother me.
America when will you be democratic?
When will you take down both your racist flags?
When will you pay reparations for slavery?
When will you be worthy of 5 million indigenous people?
America why are your libraries full of the homeless?
America when will you feed your hungry children?
I’m sick of your obscene inequality.
When can I go to the supermarket and buy what I need with my political poems.
America you and I will never be a perfect union.
Your reality television is too much for me.
You make me want to riot.
There must be some way to end your settler colonialism.
Snowden’s in Russia I don’t think he’ll come back it’s unjust.
Are you being unjust or is this a national allegory?
I’m trying to Google the point.
I refuse to give up my high-speed internet.
America stop surveilling me I’m doing something private.
America the honey bees are falling.
I’ve been reading the newspapers for months, everyday a cop is not indicted for murder.
America I feel sentimental about black lives.
America I refused to enlist in the Army after high school and I’m not sorry.
I vote to legalize marijuana every chance I get.
I sit in my house for days on end and Netflix binge.
My mind is made up there’s going to be an online petition.
America you should’ve seen me reading Fanon.
My yoga teacher thinks my chakras are almost perfectly aligned.
America I won’t stand for the Star Spangled Banner.
I have indigenous visions and anarchist vibrations.
America I still haven’t told you what you did to my dad after you drafted him into your Vietnam war.

America I’m hashtagging you.
America are you going to let your intellectual life be run by Fox News?
I’m obsessed with Fox News.
I watch it every night.
Its white talking heads are always talking about what matters. All lives matter. Blue lives matter.
Everybody matters but me.
It occurs to me that I’m not America.
I’m taking bad selfies again.

Sea levels are rising against me.
I haven’t got a polar bear’s chance.
I’d better consider my adaptation strategy.
My adaptation strategy consists of two cases of SPAM, a hundred gallons of bottled water, and a journal of unpublished electric poems that go 100 miles on a full battery with twentyfivethousand charging stations across its pages. Not to mention the community orchards of prosody nor the millions of heirloom words that grow in metaphoric gardens under sunlight powering five hundred solar panels of renewable joy. America I have abolished carbon emissions, capitalism is the next to go. My ambition is to be the President despite the fact that I’m a Chamorro.

America how can I write an inaugural poem in your fascist mood?
I will continue, like Elon Musk, my poems are as ambitious as his automobiles
more so they’re actually affordable
America I’m selling loosie political poems for $1 apiece on your bloody sidewalks don’t shoot
America free Leonard Peltier
America Save the Climate
America Mumia Abu-Jamal must not die
America We are Trayvon Martin
America when I moved to Hawai’i my wife took me to a Hawaiian sovereignty event they fed us local poi and luau stew and sweet potatoes for free and the speeches were inspiring and the hula dancers were angelic and the chanters breathed their once endangered language back to life and the sincere poets made me cry and no one will ever forget how you overthrew the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893 and our struggle will remain creative and non-violent and joyful. All of us there were warriors and rainbows.
America you don’t really want another civil war.
America it’s them bad terrorists.
Them terrorists them terrorists and them migrants. And them terrorists.
Them terrorists want to suicide bomb us. Them terrorists jihadi mad. They wants to take
our comfort from out our privilege.
They wants to grab New York City. They wants a caliphate. They wants our oil fields in the Middle East. Them sleeper cells in our cities that never sleep.
That not great. Ugh. Them force women wear hijab. Them needs 72 virgins in heaven.
Hah. Them will make us fast sixteen hours a day. Help!
America you are post-truth.
America this is the impression I get from feeding at Trump’s Twitter trough.
America are you fake news?
America I’d better start fact checking.
It’s true I don’t want to be a drone operator and murder people at weddings.
I’m nearsighted and a hopeless romantic anyway.
America I’m putting my native shoulder to the medicine wheel.

Craig Santos Perez is a native Chamoru (Chamorro) from the Pacific Island of Guåhan/Guam. He is the co-founder of Ala Press and author of three collections of poetry, most recently from unincorporated territory [guma’]. He was the winner of the 2011 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Poetry. He is director of the Creative Writing program and an assistant professor of English at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa.


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