I Am America


I am America, and I have lost my soul.

I hid it under this bushel for safekeeping,

but when evil sucked dry and despair rose, I went back to find it;

and there was a gaping hole where a soul should be.


I am America, and I hid my best treasure

while investing in trinkets and bangles and flat-screen fiction,

ignoring the gaunt hungry by the side of the road,

supposing that anyone capable of making such a lovely sign

was surely capable of holding down a job.

At least, that’s what I’m thinking in my stinking rich car

with my skinny latté and my skinny jeans.


I am America, and I need a hero to find my soul.

I hid it under this bushel for safekeeping,

but when a wet horror-cry echoed and I remembered its worth,

in that dearth I knew perhaps I was lost.

For we kill our heroes, our Lincolns and Kennedys and Kings,

and we bury our truths along with our homeless;

and senseless though it seems,

we exchange the good  for the decaying,

and virtue for diversion, and in the process

risk losing it all.

I am America, and . . .


7 thoughts on “I Am America

      1. When I was still teaching English as a Foreign Language at (senior) high school level in Germany, I used to discuss that poem with my students. Here it is:

        I, Too

        By Langston Hughes

        I, too, sing America.

        I am the darker brother.
        They send me to eat in the kitchen
        When company comes,
        But I laugh,
        And eat well,
        And grow strong.

        I’ll be at the table
        When company comes.
        Nobody’ll dare
        Say to me,
        “Eat in the kitchen,”

        They’ll see how beautiful I am
        And be ashamed—

        I, too, am America.

        Liked by 1 person

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