“A Girl Named America” – Brice Maiurro‏

Brice Maiurro‘s A Girl Named America
does for America what Carl Sandburg‘s “
Chicago” did for Chicago

it becomes your picture, condensed and easy
to fit into your pocket, of then, Chicago, here,
America now

only a great poet can do that

wow

Richard

_______________________

A Girl Named America

we adopted this girl
from an orphanage in the middle of nowhere
and we named her america
and we made her america
and we made her pretty
we put her hair in curlers
and we dyed it blonde
we put her in a pink dress
and red rouge
we taught her how to walk in heels
and how to smile with vaseline on her teeth
we made her eyes blue
and we threw her out on stage

and she was our little princess
with her sparkling tiara
queen of this old beauty pageant
she juggled and she sang
and she twirled her baton
like the american flag

we taught her how to barely eat anything
we showed her how to fold her napkin
and to excuse herself from the table
we taught her to cross her legs like a lady
we never stopped teaching her how to win

and on the world stage, she smiled
and she danced and she sang and she smiled
and when she spoke, she spoke of charity
and freedom and she opened her arms
for the world to hug her

then she got older
and the world is cruel
and everyone got sick of her
saying the same scripted things
again and again
and she grew desperate for attention
she got naked on the silver screen
burnt herself into an edie sedgewick coma
made a million off her tragedy

she danced for dollars
thrown by old, rich, white, american men
she still smiled like marilyn
but she was dying where everyone could watch
she talked about the past like a drug she loved
she shot quick fixes into her fragile arms

meanwhile
her lovely bones turned to dust
her structure began to break
her knees cracked
and her backbone crumbled
while we yelled at her
to get out on stage
and dance like she used to

Brice Maiurro

__________________________

Chicago

Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:

They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have seen your painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again.
And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces of women and children I have seen the marks of wanton hunger.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities;
Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness,
Bareheaded,
Shoveling,
Wrecking,
Planning,
Building, breaking, rebuilding,
Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white teeth,
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs,
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost a battle,
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse, and under his ribs the heart of the people,
Laughing!
Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.

Carl Sandburg