Wednesday, February 15, 2017
I learned anyone born here could become President.
An assumption, a pejorative, an honest language,an honorable death. In grade school, I refused to acceptthe mayor’s handshake; he smiled at everyone exceptpeople with names like mine. I was born here.I didn’t have to adopt America, but I adapted to it.You understand: a man must be averse to opinionsthat have adverse impacts on whether he livesor dies. “Before taking any advice, know the languageof those who seek to advise you.” Certain wordsaffected me. Sand nigger, I was called. Camel jockey.What was the effect? While I already mutteredunder my breath, I did so even more. I am notaltogether sure we can all together come. Everythingwas not all right. Everything is not all right.Imagine poetry without allusions to Shakespeare,Greek mythology, the Bible; or allusions withoutthe adjectives “fanatical,” “extremist,” “Islamic,”“right,” “left,” “Christian,” “conservative,” “liberal.”Language written or translated into a single tonguegives the illusion of tradition. A lot of people murderlanguage—a lot fully aware. Among all the dead,choose between “us” and “them.” Among all the namesfor the dead—mother, father, brother, sister,husband, wife, child, friend, colleague, neighbor,teacher, student, stranger—choose between“citizen” and “terrorist.” And poet? Immoral,yes, but never amoral? Large amounts, the numberbetween 75 and 90 percent of the estimated150 million to 1 billion—civilians—killed during wars,over all of recorded human history. Anxious is “worried”or “apprehensive.” American poetry, Americans.
February 15, 2017 | Permalink