Oh, Say


The American dream


Overextend the company

Charge more for products

Reduce services

Pay people less

Try to eliminate benefits, so-called

Maybe get raided by another firm

Everyone is fired

Move on


Wait, what?


What happened to Knute Rockne

And Jim Thorpe?

Horatio Alger

And the poor match girl?

(wait—she died)

The lives of Harriet Tubman

(whose image we pretend will go

on a twenty, yeah, someday)

Sojourner Truth

The words of Frederick Douglass

Susan Anthony


And to those

Asian and Latinx

Black and even white

In museum heritage

Or not known at all

Who made it?


What is it?

A home, a family

A car unless there’s good transit

In the city

Enough possessions

Something to pass on

Assets, among them

A good story


Justice enough

Truth enough

Faith a little more

Love more than that


A choice

A say

A vote


That’s some dreaming

That was here a while ago

But I can’t find it in my pockets

Or outside where I hear

The pundits

And pretenders

Evoking bitterness

And gorge onto

What should be a better scene

With sapling promises all

Planted, taken care of


Back to basics?

No such thing

Even on a good day

You like basics?

Me, too—guarantee of shelter

Food and opportunity

And, yes, I’ll say it

Say it with me



I like reenactments

They rarely bleed

But some real blood might have to be

Spilled again

Before we’re through in

Or with

The world

And we understand what the world

Has been through with us

And a different ecumenism’s called for


Once we understand ourselves,

We’ll have to apply again

And take part

No longer the whole

That’s for villains in poor novels

And movies


So here’s the thing:

Forward to the basics

As in feed everyone

Learn democracy

Not from demagogues

Vote again

Rescind hatred

Don’t make it a crime,

Simply something lacking reason

Not to mention humor


We can learn how to laugh again

Without the grime

Without the fall

We can honor heritage

More so legacy

In festivals


Happy Birthday, USA

We can make it

If we try


C L Couch



covering the National Mall

User:Lipton sale, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60460085