Returning to America
They bombed my basement
in a dream last night. Republicans.
I couldn't sleep. In the morning,
twisted clouds held back the light.
The sea was listless, like my mind:
fearful going back. On CNN,
blond news anchors broke the news
every thirty minutes: compassion
was dead. They had won in Washington,
the big men, with their angry cars
and private guns. My memories
of getting beaten up come back
as dreams. America, you scare me
with your unrelenting games.
Watching American Politics on Danish TV
The light night happening
without me, I walk too fast
and barely see the stars or gulls,
the purple softness on the west horizon.
At night, I dream impatient drunken highways,
all night gas stations with cowboy names.
While I was getting beaten up
at boarding school, a boy was killed
a week before our graduation.
They found a box of rifles in his trunk,
cases of empty beer bottles,
murdered steel and broken glass.
One afternoon they took us
to his grandmother's farm, where they
propped us up with lemonade
and wispy cookies. We lied
about him with our suits
and sweaty silence. I had no words
for that dishonest afternoon,
the unreal holiness, white lace
sunlight mixing with the smell
of gasoline and guns. America.
The people who beat me up
are ruining the country.
—Norman Leer, Madison, WI