America(n)

A short poem written for the AMS-130 class of Dr. Kesho Y. Scott of Grinnell College


From the perspective of the European

The land beyond the ocean shone bright for thee.

An untouched land away from here and free

For you to take for yourself, make for yourself

A new life, free of strife, to play your fife and better yourself.

Better your standing among men and then and only then

Can you truly understand what this might mean to man

To be free among the savage natives like Winthrop among Tarzans?

They may not like it but they don’t need to be a fan

Of our policies, our customs and idolatries

For we have guns and germs and steel and steal we shall.

In a fight for survival their locale is our rationale for oppression,

Exploitation and aggression. This is where the book of life was opened

And where it was shut, like a punch to the gut of society.

Indoctrinating a brave new world into our philosophy

Of greed and power, paid by the hour to fight wars that cannot be won

Fathers mourning their sons, dead for freedom, dead so the morning sun

Can rise upon a new land, a land of the free, a land built on the backs of the aborigine

Handsome Lake’s devils disguised as gods are we, the accursed tricksters in a land of Calibans

Residents of the Caribbean, those that are not fully man become subordinated,

Brought under our umbrella, their cultures erased and disintegrated

Under the pretext of progress we took what we wanted and called it innovation,

Said we were a land of opportunity where all you needed is motivation

The drive for inclusion, and escape from persecution. We can bring you in

Or drive you out but one thing sits as the lynchpin.

God bless America, land of the new, the old, and the forgotten.

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