I was fortunate enough to spend the other day with my room mate reading me poetry by Allen Ginsberg. His poetry is phenomenal and writing as a queer communist in America during the 1950s you can only imagine how banned his books were and how influential.
If you haven’t heard of his poem “America”, you can read the full poem here.
It is so amazing that he addresses America as if the country is a person who is accountable for his or her actions. This is a radical concept and one I’m amazed more people haven’t adopted. One of my best friends has questioned me about my loyalty to America and what I think America means: do I support the idea of America? the literal place?
What am I attached to?
Reading Ginsberg prompted me to write a freewrite of uncensored thoughts of what I would say to America if the country were a person and not an abstract idea. Especially in light of the NSA spying, Americans need to find their voices even more.
Please join me sharing your uncensored thoughts by writing a freewrite titled “Dear America”. A freewrite is where you write constantly for a set period of time-say five minutes-without stopping to think or censor your thoughts but see where they take you.
Here is my freewrite letter to America, exactly how I hand wrote it:
Why do you oppress us? Why do you oppress those who stand for freedom and democracy and believe they are worth more than order?
How can you bury us under packages of meat, packages of disease marked as food, labeled as toys or beauty products? The elusive health care.
You bury us under packages and then package us into boxes. The blacks. The whites. The gays. The lesbians. When you can, spare the postage stamp to send us on our way as poster children.
The children of America. The brainwashed, the ignorant.
Able and disabled. You love hierarchies masqueraded under change. Your puppet president Obama has turned “yes we can” into a war cry of inaction.
And that is what you want, America. You want us to suffocate in our packaging and be reborn as true American citizens: the ones who matter.
Straight. White. Cisgender. Rich. Men.
And then in a feast of gluttony you feast on those who did not make the cut.
For shame, America. For shame. But what can I do? I wag my finger, I scream on the page, and you, my country are strong.
You swell with pride when I say those words: my country.
But here’s the thing, America, I own you. We own you. And you, my dear, are in our hands.
Rip open the packaging and see the hand that feeds you. Because it might not be white, straight, cisgender or male. Rip open the packaging and see.