American Dream

“…working men are the basis of all governments” ~ Abraham Lincoln, February 12, 1861

And now? Now that we’re told we have The Dream?
How do we make sure it doesn’t deteriorate into
a substandard or lapsed edition or, heaven forbid,
a bootleg copy manufactured in a third world sweatshop
of The Dream? And is this set of papers The Guarantee,
to which we have affixed at the bottom of every page
and on every margin of every page the semblance of a seal,
i.e. our John Hancocks, our signatures in ink
whose upswept tails testify to our consent to the terms
and conditions set forth thereby? Have we observed
the proper decorum, that heady mixture conjoined
of nervousness concealed under uncertain pride?
Are we to believe your plumply jovial representatives,
all pinstriped or suited up in black like undertakers?
—Which they are in a manner of speaking since it is
admittedly such a large undertaking to raise
one’s right hand and solemnly swear before The Book
The Chair The One Holding the Gavel in The Chair
The Alabaster One Whose Eyes are Shielded by a Blindfold
Oh Most Cool Lady Whose Face Never Registers
the Difficulty of Holding Up Those Scales…
Does The Dream we’ve been granted taste and smell
and handle like the ones our neighbors have?
Does each of us down our block and around the city
have the same level plot to cultivate, make multiply,
pull up by the bootstraps? What kinds of fences exist
in The Dream and are there border guards who will check
and check through our documents though we’ve surrendered
them more than the minimum times required while others go
on to pick up square after square of reward never once
being sent back, tasered, or detained in jail or told
to go back to Start/Do not pass go? And this, as you know,
is history: our people out at daybreak, making their way
through the grass; elbow-deep in asparagus, apples, beans,
garlic, such extravagant bounty shepherded by their hands.

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