I don’t know how you cope with living in America. I’ve been struggling with it for quite some time. From the racist, sexist election season to the regular mass shootings (that includes the Dallas police murders) to the endless slaughter of black people by police officers, I am empty.
That I get to feel empty rather than endless fear that I might be killed is a privilege I can recognize. This is something that never came easy to me, the recognition of privilege. Growing up poor white trash in a time when privilege was only discussed when it came to class, I once foolishly believed I had none. Life is a learning process.
Tragedy has brought me down. At least I can easily pin my latest bout of ennui on the tragedy of America, though that’s just a convenient excuse. I have been not myself for awhile now. Maybe a month? I am not sure what my problem is.
I’m a ghost haunting my own life. I am not practicing self-care in any form. Instead I stay up until two in the morning refreshing twitter to read the pain expressed their over the deaths of Philando Castille, Alton Sterling, and sniper attack in Dallas. Then five short hours later, I’m up with Walter (I am Walter-sitting for the next six weeks) whose tail is always a-wag with the joy of being alive in the morning. We do not share morning dispositions.
While Walter sniffs every blade of grass to see if it is worthy of his piss I recite Allen Ginsberg’s “America.” At least the first twenty-ish lines.
America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.
America two dollars and twenty-seven cents January 17, 1956.
I can’t stand my own mind.
America when will we end the human war?
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb
I don’t feel good don’t bother me.
I won’t write my poem till I’m in my right mind.
America when will you be angelic?
When will you take off your clothes?
When will you look at yourself through the grave?
When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites?
America why are your libraries full of tears?
America when will you send your eggs to India?
I’m sick of your insane demands.
When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks?
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world.
Your machinery is too much for me.
You made me want to be a saint.
There must be some other way to settle this argument.
I know nearly the whole thing, but I struggle with the racial slurs at the end and then I get upset with myself that the closet thing I have to a prayer, this poem, is problematic and I try to soothe myself with the idea that the bible is probably super problematic, but what do I know because I never read the damn thing.
I don’t fucking know. All I got is this emptiness that is tinged with sadness and some frustration because I don’t know what to do to make anyone feel better, not even myself. Maybe typing is a start. I kind of hope it is.