america is…by Igor Brezhnev

Editor Sam Preminger, Poetry, July 4th, 2018

"an angry white man shouting. / hide my accent please"

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america is…

 

1/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
it could be better.

2/67

america is
an aged marine traveling.
story for his dead.

3/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
i’ll listen to you.

4/67

america is
a moving truck on the road
in chase of that dream.

5/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
wrapper is plastic.

6/67

america is
three a.m. diner pancakes.
maple syrup sweet.

7/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
may i please have two?

8/67

america is
small town skeletons resting.
i’m just passing through.

9/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
it’s good with coffee.

10/67

america is
cocaine residue in loos.
addicted to speed.

11/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
fake and too real.

12/67

america is
highways to oceans stretching.
do you have a car?

13/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
it’s made in china.

14/67

america is
a prison two million strong.
it’s a free country.

15/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
how do you eat yours?

16/67

america is
barrios and street tamales.
there i feel at home.

17/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
thank you for caring.

18/67

america is
a loaded gun to my back.
sir, i am unarmed.

19/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
a death on the tracks.

20/67

america is
suburban white-fenced green lawn
playing hide and seek.

21/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
where are we headed?

22/67

america is
thanksgiving. reservation.
all my relations.

23/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
crumbling at edges.

24/67

america is
redwoods holding up the sky,
older than our names.

25/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
beauty in windows.

26/67

america is
an angry white man shouting.
hide my accent please.

27/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
it’s chocolate chip.

28/67

america is
an arcade video game.
aim for highest score.

29/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
trade you a soda.

30/67

america is
a farmer in clay county,
georgia, out in cold.

31/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
i wish you were here.

32/67

america is
¿cómo te llamas, hijo?
i was fifteen then.

33/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
it is tough as stone.

34/67

america is
my friend followed by store clerk
for his darker skin.

35/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
i could not sleep too.

36/67

america is
rock-n-roll revolution!
tickets sold online.

37/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
a crying child soothed.

38/67

america is
millions of eyes bound by light.
four easy payments.

39/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
five hundred miles left.

40/67

america is
you ain’t from round here, are you?
drunk and angry mob.

41/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
the monsters are us.

42/67

america is
a black woman rising up.
they will not stop her.

43/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
how can i help you?

44/67

america is
antiques roadshow bonanza.
there’s always more stuff.

45/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
it’s best to be shared.

46/67

america is
wearing stained blue careworn jeans
at the state fairground.

47/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
no fortunes told here.

48/67

america is
looking for god anywhere
but in the mirror.

49/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
our road eucharist.

50/67

america is
a loud warm casserole heart.
dinners with strangers.

51/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
save it for later.

52/67

america is
karaoke in dive bars:
“oh, i will survive!”

53/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
hard-to-swallow pill.

54/67

america is
stargazing at a rest stop,
neon left behind.

55/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
my snoring neighbor.

56/67

america is
a gambling war with the poor.
the house always wins.

57/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
is it our station?

58/67

america is
street corner blues in new york,
we have the same tears.

59/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
it leaves you thirsty.

60/67

america is
fever of nuclear bombs.
please, don’t lose your mind.

61/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
anything else, ma’am?

62/67

america is
the few rich getting richer.
the rest left behind.

63/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
economy class.

64/67

america is
an irregular plaid shirt
of geography.

65/67

america is
a dry cookie on a train.
it’s a sugar rush.

66/67

america is
bright-eyed youths around a fire.
now dreaming new hope.

67/67

america was
a dry cookie on a train.
we can bake better.

 

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A Note from the Author:

This poem is long. It could be longer. There is much to say about life in America. It is repetitive, but then so are fast food franchises and strip malls. The poem has been inspired by a few train rides, as well as many personal and witnessed experiences in the twenty-five years of becoming a part of the tapestry of life in America.

The number of verses has been capped at 67 to represent 50 states, one federal district, and the 16 territories that comprise the geography of the USA. Somehow the territories are forgotten in the count most of the time, which to me is a constant reminder of unrepresented people in this country.

I feel that American experience cannot be summed up, but it can be highlighted, that is what this poem is. It is a light on the good, the bad, and the ugly of time and space that America is today. It is a condensation of the emotions all around us. It is my hope that those who have not felt these emotions would do so through this poem and be able to empathize, and that those who have felt would know they are not unheard. Ultimately, it is a call for change—see the bad and the ugly and confront it.

 

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Header image courtesy of Brett Amory. To view his Artist Feature, go here.

Igor Brezhnev is an author and an artist, amongst his other sins. He was born in Moscow, Russia and arrived in US in 1994. He has been calling Portland, Oregon his home for the past five years, with occasional long visits to Phoenix, Arizona, which has been his home for over twenty years. He has first-hand experience with confronting depression, homelessness, poverty, and xenophobia, as well as more common ailments like heartbreak and spilled coffee.

Igor has authored three books: the book of possibilities (2012), dearest void (2016) published by Liquid Gravity Publishing, and the upcoming book, america is a dry cookie and other love stories (kickstarter americaisadrycookie.com).

For more information, visit: www.igorbrezhnev.com   instagram: @igorbrezhnevofficial  twitter: @igorbrezhnev  facebook: fb.com/igorbrezhnevofficial

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Sam Preminger

Sam Preminger is a Portland-based poet. Their work has appeared throughout various publications and they hold an MFA from Pacific University.