I Dream of America

Poetry, Prose

When I was young I had visions of another world

Land of the Free, American Dream, stars and stripes as the banner unfurled

Even when I’m high I dream of America

Bratty kids tear up arcades, pockets jingling with loose change, screaming and yelling and pushing and shoving to get a peek inside the stand-up cabinets, only to find they’d ‘struck out’, the ball sliding past the bats and into the machines, and just outside these arcades there are at least two or three bums hoping to catch a few cents from them as they leave. And then opposite the street, teenagers waiting to go into whatever movie was in at the time, this time the bums being shooed away by movie-goers and employees alike. And then further down the street, Bowery and Third Avenue bars filled with suits, glasses clinked and cigars smoked, the businessmen of our day swigging away after a hard day’s work, jukeboxes roaring away with Fitzgerald, Sinatra, Armstrong, or whoever, the bartenders who’ve heard it all a thousand times before – and then just outside, in the alleyways out of plain-sight, paranoid teenagers with bottles, cowering in corners out of fear of being caught. And then the finest America has to offer, men and women in at least five or six coats and jackets, purses filled to the brim with all kinds of wealthy secrets, walking past phone booths filled with lively conversations with friends and families. And just down streets, trees peak round corners, park birds making residence for the night, shouting from tree to tree about the adventures of the dwindling day. More alleyways filled with the smell of tea, two men round a corner laughing away at jokes which trail off into the slowly-darkening skies

When I was young I had visions of another world

Land of the Free, American Dream, stars and stripes as the banner unfurled

Even when I’m high I dream of America

Innumerable people lost in the swathe, three hundred million three hundred million, old and stupid, young and foolish, thinking evil so they receive evil, thinking good so they receive evil. Black, white, yellow, brown, whatever the colour whether rain or shine a fight will break out in no time at all, and sometimes the people who were told to protect us do the exact opposite. Men dead from the day they were born, men wearing suits becoming just suits, men without suits don’t matter, Men with tattered clothes matter even less, if you’re ill don’t talk to anyone, no one cares about your health so no one’s gonna give you health. The White House don’t give a damn either so don’t bother asking them. Drugs are easier to find, probably more fun too, roam the streets of Alaska to find this out, meth heads hugging trees, homeless people trying to sleep, the drunk hopping from bar to bar whilst yelling and shouting in the streets. Is the hedonism shallow or is it all that matters, I don’t know but I want to know, I want to go and find out.

When I was young I had visions of another world

Land of the Free, American Dream, stars and stripes as the banner unfurled

Even when I’m high I dream of America

Give me that sense of wonderment that I want, let me look up as I walk down streets and see gigantic monoliths for buildings lit up by the thousands of different lives which are being lived and have lived and will be lived. Let me hop in your car and travel across the entire country with you, sailing across roads which have been crossed a million times before me and a million times after me, and yet I still feel like it matters that I’m doing it. Let me smoke that with you and sit back enjoying the music, whatever music, music that was born here, that was listened to here, that will be listened to here, maybe it’s jazz, maybe I’ll feel Almost Blue, maybe Kind of Blue, maybe just blue. Past, present, future, America is here, and America is there.

When I was young I had visions of another world

Land of the Free, American Dream, stars and stripes as the banner unfurled

Even when I’m high I dream of America

But really I don’t know anything about it


Performed this at Thorn: Deception, at Bar 33 Durham

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