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Fall 2006

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Rant for a Rusty Kazoo
Dan Lewis

America, I hear
your singing and I hear your
self-satisfied after-dinner
belch and I hear your secret
midnight fart. And I'm sitting here,
America, taking some ease in
the cool of morning and I know
I'm complicit as hell. America,
we had this all out four decades ago.

                               America
we made a bargain-I would stop
shouting obscenities from your
rooftops and you
would stop parading burning children
on the evening news. And you stopped
for a time at least, dropping the terrible
euphemisms from the sky;
pretended at least
to learn something like
humility. And I? Adrift in this graying
climate, gave up the soapbox and the pen,
found booze or coke or money
certain enough distractions, grew up,
invented something like a life. America,
what happened? Did we both
come somehow to believe
that we were entitled to the easy gait
with which we waltzed through
the century's end?

                               America why is it always
the narrow-minded, ego-inflated mythic self
that gets to run the show? America, what
is that smell now like gas
leaking in under all the doors

                               America,
I'm old now; my gut
complains; my eyes are slow to focus. I want only
to believe in Alex Trebec and the poetry
of a perfect curveball; I want to shop
at Wal-Mart without guilt. America
why, oh why, must you and I
take up again this slow,
agonizing, and ultimately futile
dance?