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Thursday, February 01, 2018


by Alejandro Escudé

America first, because I’m qualified to say American first. America first, as in the first crocodile. America first, as in the rich literary history of the United States. America first, as in Huck Finn killing the pig to cover his tracks. The estuary. America first, as in Chicago, Hog Butcher of the World. America first, Sandburg, Sandburg. America first, the red wheelbarrow again the wall there. The rising tide of America. And the woman rocking on the porch, the water rising. Flood waters in New Orleans. America first of the dress socks you wore to Davos. The helicopter rising amid snow you’d never know. Fuck you, fuck you. America first, of the Dodge Challenger that ran over the protestor. Did you know she was there, in front of your hood? Blood smears the shape of the continent? America first, the city on the hill. What hill? The city, you bastard, the one you saw from your New York City skyscraper. I remember sweaty mornings in the summer. Do you know what summer is? The sweat, sweat, sweat. And now, America first, where does your wife sleep? The house where Melania, goddess of the hunt, sleeps. Do the rest of us sleep, the ones that need the jobs? Do you know what a job is, hovering about the river? What river? Fuck you, the river, the river, the river. There is a dog barking in the distance. Do you hear that dog? Do you hear history knocking? The book that lies open on the coffee table, abhorred. How many us had to die. How many of us gave an open night just to earn a college education? By the time you’re forty you want to blow up the circuit before the circuit. The boss that gave you shit. The movie you fell in love with. So many Western reenactments. There’s the Civil War, the Vietnam War, then there’s Desert Storm, the war you grew up with. Now, there’s Fox News and Sean Hannity—sounds like a deadbeat Joyce character in Ulysses. The one who ignored Bloom and Daedalus and you wanted dead or pussy-whipped, same thing. I’m thinking of the dust storm in West Texas, was it really there? The doggy door I must shut to shut the doggy indoors. Will you feed him when I’m gone? No, you won’t? Then, what good are you? When I was twenty, my parents urged me to get my citizenship and I stood and put my hand over my heart. My heart? Doesn’t it make you laugh? It makes you want to scream “I am a dreamer!” And I am I guess, I have dreamed before. My son is blonde and he is ten-years-old. My wife is a “hell hath new fury” type of woman. A real feminist, if you know what I mean. But my father disapproves of my guns. He remembers grandfather back in in South America taking aim at the cats who murdered his pigeons, but he hates guns. I sit back and drink wine and wonder what happened to the man who would cut the moon in twain and then I recall there wasn’t such a man. I am that man! The sky is broken. The heat is coming. There is a street ready to take it all. There is a mind that has already moved beyond you. Somewhere, there is a liquor store open late. We walk into it and buy a six pack of beer. Something to drink before the dinosaurs burst into our room and we are too drunk to notice.

Alejandro Escudé published his first full-length collection of poems My Earthbound Eye in September 2013. He holds a master’s degree in creative writing from UC Davis and teaches high school English. Originally from Argentina, Alejandro lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.