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    CARRAND   95,923
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A Poem for the New Congress

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The NRA is selling fear: Buy a gun because “they” are coming to get you and a gun will protect you. Only a gun does not protect you. You are more likely to die or be injured from gun violence if you own a gun than if you don’t.

The following poem is one I’ve loved for a long time.

“True believers in liberty, and also security” seems like an apt thought for the times.


The puzzled ones, the Americans, go through their lives
Buying what they are told to buy,
Pursuing their love affairs with the automobile,

Baseball and football, romance and beauty,
Enthusiastic as trained seals, going into debt, struggling —
True believers in liberty, and also security,

And of course sex — cheating on each other
For the most part only a little, mostly avoiding violence
Except at a vast blue distance, as between bombsight and earth,

Or on the violent screen, which they adore.
Those who are not Americans think Americans are happy
Because they are so filthy rich, but not so.

They are mostly puzzled and at a loss
As if someone pulled the floor out from under them,
They'd like to believe in God, or something, and they do try.

You can see it in their white faces at the supermarket and the gas station
— Not the immigrant faces, they know what they want,
Not the blacks, whose faces are hurt and proud —

The white faces, lipsticked, shaven, we do try
To keep smiling, for when we're smiling, the whole world
Smiles with us, but we feel we've lost

That loving feeling. Clouds ride by above us,
Rivers flow, toilets work, traffic lights work, barring floods, fires
And earthquakes, houses and streets appear stable

So what is it, this moon-shaped blankness?
What the hell is it? America is perplexed.
We would fix it if we knew what was broken.

Alicia Suskin Ostriker

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
HARMONIUM 2/7/2013 7:06PM

    Thank you for the poem. It seems to be a mostly candid and true look at the American psyche.

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SARAWMS48 1/23/2013 6:50PM

    Not how I feel, but an interesting, thought-provoking poem.

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SRBSRB26 1/22/2013 7:55AM


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BILLB000 1/21/2013 11:13PM

    I like this poem. Thank you for this blog and sharing the poem.

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    It's always interesting to read where everyone stands.

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TIME2BLOOM4ME 1/21/2013 6:50PM


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JUNEAU2010 1/21/2013 6:45PM

    I hope the new congress does not repeat the "do nothing" of the previous one.

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CATLADY52 1/21/2013 5:47PM

    That is quite a powerful poem. emoticon

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CELIAMINER 1/21/2013 4:23PM

    Wow, I never knew I was perplexed :-)

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COACHPENNY 1/21/2013 11:01AM

    This paints a bleak picture of America. I hope there are enough people who haven't joined the ranks of the disaffected and unfeeling.

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PINKNFITCARLA 1/20/2013 10:06PM

    Thanks for sharing!

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CANDOK1260 1/20/2013 8:46PM

    great blog emoticon for sharing

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