"in the soft hands of america"
written after an election by jake kilroy.
i was destined for america
long before the stilettos tilled the earth
and lipstick drew up the flag.
there were fireworks in my stomach
when i set sail as a proud maniac.
what was to come drummed on my ribcage
like the fingers of a waiting general,
and my best anthem harped
when i slid my tongue
over the red, white, and blue
of my mouth with a sucker still in it.
this country hugs and fights like new year's lovers
trying to make good on old promises
before getting tattoos of new ones.
all we wanted was freshly cut lawns and polite dinnertime kisses
and instead we got the finest of wines to coat our insides.
we didn't see it coming, the elders muse.
we didn't anticipate the youth sharpening blades
to be put to good work with backs breaking in the sun.
the myths told us they'd chop down the family tree.
but, now, in the fortuitous grace of statues and statures,
there comes a waking light that pulses in the distance.
immaculate rays, not quite sunshine, not yet starlight,
swell in our eyes as we take in what rattles us best.
so, for today,
with infinity like sleeves instead of handcuffs
and princes mixing blood with paupers,
go forth in the world with a sense of purpose.
smooth out the colors of collars,
drink everything in the place,
and let us finally talk freedom.