Wednesday, May 25, 2011

poem of the day 05.25.11

you are not americans

aida tells ally and i
you are not americans

but, like us,
aida has been drinking pints of mahou
for almost eight hours

we’re all drunk
and it’s hard to feel like an american
when you’ve been drinking

but i never feel like an american
when i’m in europe

except for the burning desire
to wear a baseball cap backwards

or find a good place to get pizza or a hamburger

you are not americans, aida says

maybe it’s true

i don’t understand half of the things
that go on in america these days

like continued tax breaks for the rich
the lack of universal health care
or why people continue to watch basketball and hockey

you’re not an american

chrst, i like the sound of that
sitting here, drunk, in the plaza santa ana
talking about picasso and joan baez

i never talk to people about picasso
or joan baez in america
although i’m sure they both have fans in the states

i’m sure there are americans
who continue to go to art galleries
or ones that read hemingway

i just don’t know any of them

and finding out who they are is not my concern
because right now i’m not an american

right now i’m spanish or parisian
mostly likely i’ll be perceived as english or a canadian

and that’s fine

if i play my cards right
maybe i could even become japanese

anything but an american

you are not americans, aida says

the pleasure in that concept
it feels liberating
i think that i feel true freedom
for the first time in my life

but deep down i worry
that i’ve somehow fooled my spanish friends

deep down i fear that i am an american
that it’s somehow beyond my control
that cracks will start to show in my european fa├žade

i fear that my true colors will show
that i’ll whip out that baseball cap
start asking the waiters if i can
get a pint of budweiser and a plate of buffalo wings

i worry that i’ll grab the guy next to me
and ask him if the yankees won that night
or what in the hell is going on
with the basketball and hockey playoffs?

i’m afraid that i’ll stand up and start singing
the star-spangled banner, god bless america
yankee doody dandy

tell everyone america love it or leave it

and then just how european will i be?

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