American Dream Redux
by Bill Britton
My country ‘tis of thee,
I sing of your spacious skies and plains
and purple mountains ambered by sulfurous smoke,
of your Congress whose grim beat grinds down the downtrodden
longing for release from a wilderness of otherness.
I sing of stern-visaged laws
that shroud liberty with words spoken
by caretakers of public morality—airwave preachers
who diddle the faithful as if they were young boys
babbling catechism in a cloakroom.
America, your patriot dreams suffer years of tears in cities,
whose alabaster blocks swarm with bastards of fatherless sons
captured by the myth of God’s grace.
Sweet land of liberty,
your Wall Street altars
are attended by worshippers
who trample out a vintage of capital
on the backs of working men and women
bent by the terrible swift sword of necessity.
America, you stare at red-glaring rockets
and bursting bombs,
insane recreations of Dresden
sanitized into episodes of Star Wars.
America, a government of, by, and for the greediest
leaves the neediest reaching for the bottom rung
of a ladder broken by lobbyists
who slither through hallowed halls
in pursuit of silver-haired senators
with Bahamian junkets on their minds
while wondering what else their country
can do for them.
I once had a dream of freedom,
of oppression defeated by justice in men’s souls,
of crooked places made straight,
of freedom from every mole hill to every mountain,
of freedom from sea to shining sea,
of freedom at last.