But I Am American

social security

Matil A. Jorna was stopped trying to enter the country after a long trip to the Czech Republic.  She was strip searched, and she protested.  To no avail.  The people working at the TSA inappropriately grabbed her at one point, and she recoiled, in shock; her shock was taken as evidence against her, and she had no recourse to complain.  “I don’t like having my vagina rubbed by government officials,” she stated to a reporter, after the event.

Events sometimes get lost in time.  Such was the case with Matil’s.  You will not find her story in the New York Times or the Washington Post.  These are daily occurrences, and we are only made aware of them through statistics about how often people get searched, or how often certain groups of people get searched.   But this was there, at one point.  Gone, now.

This story is lost.  But it is remembered.

This is my tribute.



Cars spot-on move along
Setup by those–the past.
Never think about that.

Grain elevators scarred
White in places whether painted or just diseased;
You decide the disrepair or just general unease.

Citygrids undulating skipping passing
Weaving playing cat’s cradle on some grand scale–

Balancing hands and twine,
String’s fingers setup by those above–but not too far up
Up and only down the block.

Unlike God, you can talk to these people.

Like God, they won’t talk back.

How to Write by Gertrude Stein


Is the quarter ironic or just misplaced?

Iraq War – dream american

walking through a sunlit meadow, the colors of wildflowers swirling around your feet, bright blues and soft greens; in the air little pinpricks of light dance, and in the middle of this meadow a wooden plank stands resolutely, having been stuck in the ground some time ago. Barely weathered, the corners are smooth, but otherwise the plank is unimpressive. It’s just THERE and not in the roofing of the nearby farmhouse, so pretty and cozy. Hands out now, passed the plank, feeling the grasses creeping slowly up to waist-length feeling every stem and no stem

back home dinner is set “did you feed the dog?” asks mom, and yes, you did feed the dog. The air inside is sticky-hot and you wash up, lathering the bar soap onto your face and arms but still now sweet sweat beads around your elbows and one drop falls to the floor. “I did ___ today,” you say. Dad looks at you between bites and doesn’t smile, his jaw chewing cud in big closed circles, you smile, he smiles, he takes his fork and in one deft motion stabs a piece of meat and chews it up like some

you say “Mommy, can we talk to ___ today?” and Mommy doesn’t even look up, her eyes are on her food and she’s not even eating. Her red potatoes sit on her plate, arranged perfectly precisely by the meat. The forks and knives. Finally she closes her eyes and puts her napkin on her legs. Her eyes focus on your dad

SON, there’s something we have to talk about. We can’t call ___ tonight because he’s gone,

at this point dad looks straight at you and holds your gaze

SON, he died, someone killed him in the war, so he won’t be coming home

a light breeze wafts in through the window and ruffles the off-white curtains

you are young, and your dad is telling you something that will change everything, and your mouth is open, his lips pursed, his arm now resting on the table by your red potatoes, fingers lightly clenched

SON, this will be hard but we will have to make the best of this

mom cries

SON, you’re going to have to help more now, keep working and we’ll all get through this

dad’s rock-hard jaw quivers

SON, we have to work our way

the drapes puff

SON, it will be ok

mom is shaking

SON, gone

DAD, I know

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