In My America by Imogen Arate

In my America 
The Constitution is a false advertisement 
Our entitlement to its guarantees 
Are dealt in measure by the contrast 
Between our skin color 
And the Bible upon which 
We lay our hands for entrance 
An invisible cardboard Uncle Sam 
That puts his hand up to his eyeballs 
Tells me with a speech bubble that 
“You have to be this rich 
To get on this ride” 
And I am constantly told 
That I don’t qualify 
By the well-meaning people 
With a curiosity barely hiding 
An ingrained ignorance 
They refuse to let go 
While asking, digging 
For the answer they seek 
Instead of the one I have 
With “Where are you from?” 
And leveraged as a curse 
That most genteel of descriptors 
Flagellates with self-incrimination 
Anyone bordering its definition 
To force back our reach toward equality 
Oh how FAIR is our sex! 

In my America 
We’ve been baited and switched 
While those who enjoy the genuine articles 
Swing wildly their billy clubs 
While blindfolded and oscillate 
Between reciting the oath of allegiance 
And shouting at anyone aiming higher 
To go home if they don’t like it 
The ascent to Mount Rushmore 
Is paved by the rotting flesh of the 
Unlucky caught in the melee 
Stinging the eyes of anyone 
Still able to take in the majestic view 
With its putridity stirred afresh 
By dying pilgrims seeking refuge 
Now refused entrance even 
As their tears swell in relief 
Those words on Ms. Liberty’s base 

In my America 
We spend our dollars on marketing 
But neglect the value underneath 
And the essence of the ideals 
That drove its founding 
Is now a dying prostitute 
Riddled with STIs from days 
Of being peddled on the streets 
To monied clients with antithetical desires 
By pimps who bark out her virtues 
While pocketing all her earnings 
Leaving addictions that fill her veins 
With a sense of vainglory that 
Barely buys the imagined heroes 
From her heroin trips 
Sent out in their younger days 
To exchange their ideology 
With the preachings of grand visions 
From the mouth of automatic rifles 

In my America 
We crave celebrity endorsements 
And forget the side effects 
We nest doll the same 
Unhealthy relationship 
In every stratum of social interaction 
In which we must demonstrate 
Our love for a country, a star, a POTUS 
That doesn’t love us back 
Because this is the individualistic society 
That despises nonconformity 
E pluribus unum only celebrates the one 
After you’ve already savaged 
Your way to the pinnacle 
But stretching your hand out 
Seeking help on the climb 
Will only engender the label 
Of being lazy and a drag on the economy 

In my America 
We love our neighbors with small print 
That no one reads but upholds
With their negligence 
We are a colorful tapestry 
That pools toward similar colors 
We invent but use our ingenuity 
To enslave others 
To bring quicker destruction 
To ever larger masses 
To set tunnel vision 
And segregate by isolation 
To kill redundancies 
That would have blunted falls 
To cut to the bone where 
We saw no purpose 
For the moment 
To lose ourselves in the now 
And forget to plan for the future 
That’s sliding into the past without notice 
While the process speeds up 
In our craving for a piece of the present 

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