Tradition |
by Till Gwinn

What can I say to you, America?
Am I suppose to bare-ica -cause
no matter the time or where I ca-come from
You'll still deem your love fair-i-ca cause
it's tradition.
Who ever conditioned a sudden stutter as some undone “other” utterance?
Why can't it be a cadence that caught ya
listening closer than you would Sinatra's glistening pearly, purely
patri-erotic voice.

America, I will write you rhymes when I can sell poetry freely to the streets.
Fuck yes, I will sell my poetry!
America, if you let me I'll sell my sole in a haiku.
I figure it'll end up along the Pacific Union line, being slant rhymed and all.
            America stop out doing yourself and come back to bed.
            Wall St is cold from the groin down, you'll both be lonely.

I tried to trust you
but ended watching you lie into a metal coffin,
cry yourself to rust and dusty locomotive:
Detroit, still dripping skeleton of the once hubristic Moloch.

For five months my friends hung out of your highrise buildings,
worked out of your docks, spread your war, drank Splenda Koolaide,
and still ended up tearing themselves apart
with vodka soaked mouths, ears, eyes, ideas...

I heard hapless stories on street corners in front of cafes like:
'That's right we sold them
our fingerprints for
a fistful of blow, a bottle of beer, a lid of ashes, a virgin.
We got up real fast felt the sky against the crown of my skull
and then took a little hop.
We hung ourselves for the benevolence of our families’.

Apathy, ah yes like liquor, like tears, like Indians, lubricate and relieve,
letting things slip by in anticipation of the 1st or 15th better yet, death.
Hip fucks lips suck the color from Gaia's tit, wearing Pendleton headdresses,
carrying a wild array of self images blest by Western medicine.

I watch the Ghost Dance circle the sun and am unsure if it is occurring in time
or outside the city limits in a winter valley where
shells rain Christian Hell on an already bent and Wounded People.
Honestly some times I can't hear that shattering, the battered prison
being broken open in an august eruption off of the reservations
into a nightmare of free will, out of the South Dakota Pen,
through rainy opiate alleyways.

 Fraternal Twins

So here we are, America: in front of all our
friends and famine.

The discourses dissolves from dead candidates faces. They run
in an election to decide the stillest heart of iron, steam, stagnant diseased water,
purely packaged dinner.

Every America ru(i)ns on remains:
we waited millions of years to pump bones into our tanks.
How long will our amnesia endure? Before or after we can siphon
Jim Crowe marrow to be burnt up in a
cough of piston, liberty, capital, trust, dignity, friction,
exceptional tradition?

The Poet: Till Gwinn is a student and a poet in Salem.

The Photographer: Riya Aarini is an avid photographer and writer. She lives in the Midwest, where the variegated seasons offer much unique material to capture digitally. Riya enjoys the theater, where characters drown in sorrow and distress and become elated with pleasure and happiness.