America the Ugly

(great piece and recommend it! – promoted by pfiore8)

America the Beautiful

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
–Katharine Lee Bates

It’s a great song.  But times have changed…

America the Ugly

America, America
We’ve sung this song for you
America, America
We’ve forgotten if it’s true

Sky Eye

Spacious skies
once so beautiful
now soot-stained
filled with fumes
molecular soup
brewed in a cauldron
too globally warm
chemical change

America, Amerika

a nation turns its
reddened eyes from you
Tears flow
from those eyes
as air once clean
becomes clean only
by act of a government
that has lost the meaning
of words bathed
in the acid of corruption
so that the nation
loses its purpose
and our way

America, Amerika
Amber waves the grain.
I’m just not sure
what’s saying

Maybe it’s the grain
genetically modified
at least gone
from the bellies
of too many
of the people
of this once great land
from Gulf Coast
to Appalachian valley.

Possibly it’s the nation
deserting the greatness
the fertile land
and its founders
In forcing democracy
on others
we have lost
our own.

Probably it’s both.

Amber Waves

Gold in Them Thar Hills

Purple mountains
or any color
once majestic
now leveled
rock crushed
for oil
or hollowed out
emptied of coal
except where it burns
or blown apart
in the search
for fancy rocks

America Amerika

The weapon
that destroys the mass
is fueled by the lives
of men too poor
badly educated and so ill-treated
lubricated by the greased palms
of partisan self-interest
and naked incivility
of so-called servants
and dangerously driven
by the avarice
of men too rich

At the edge
of forests healthy
for everything
but animals or trees
lie the fruited plains
blistered with toxins
alchemically nurtured
in a liquid
roughly water
strange brew
what’s inside of you

America Amerika

Groves of blemished trees
bearing produce
invisibly bruised
dripping venomous juices
like Snow White’s apple

We are fashioned
into laboratory mice
to ascertain
how much poison
we can consume
and remain vaguely human
while we are forced
to pay exorbitant fees
for what passes
as our health


God’s Eye

I do not set aside
the grace of God,
for if righteousness
could be gained
through the law,
Christ died for nothing!”

–Gal 2:21

God sheds grace on us?
The shedding of grace
has a human face
We are graced with hunger
to measure our sense of charity
We are graced with poverty,
to challenge us
to solve economic
inequity and despair
We are graced with pestilence
but also graced
with the scientific curiosity
necessary for us
to defeat disease

We are not graced with war
That is our doing
it is our responsibility to end it
We are not graced with greed
which is rather a byproduct
of the rotting
of human souls
We are not graced
with the false profiteers
who use religion
to tear us apart
when its purpose
is to bring us together
to give us common bonds
under our separate roofs

God sheds tears for us
tears of frustration
of shame and contempt
of anger and outrage
of pain and disgust
at what people have done
in God’s name
God sheds no grace now

America Amerika

We have spurned
the grace of God

They lack a sense
of brotherhood
toward so many kinds of people
for union members
for whom it has
special meaning
for immigrants of any kind
legality be damned
for those whose roots
weren’t cultivated
in the appropriate loam
kinship even denied
with their own children
if they happen to be queer
no empathy felt
for those whose skin tones
haven’t been created
recently enough
by lounging in the sun
nor sympathy for people
whose cupboards are too bare
from one day to the next

If you don’t believe
what they believe
then to hell with you

America Amerika

There is no crown
for there is too little good
to place one upon

Skin Tones

America, America
After o so many years
America America
For you we weep our tears

–Robyn Elaine Serven


Skip to comment form

    • Robyn on October 14, 2007 at 6:45 pm

    …all in one place.

    There is now.


    • RiaD on October 14, 2007 at 7:18 pm

    just… O
    that is So Damn Powerful all together!
    Excellent! Ah-stounding!
    I love the colours and Art! mixture…its so serenely flowing, belying the cry of the lyric(?)…this really needs its own tune!…with the trad. America as descant…damn I wish I was a composer so I could lay in a soundtrack for you!

    • fatdave on October 14, 2007 at 7:50 pm

    to see this work, presented free from the constraints of format, do very well. It is very good. Do you have something akin to the Turner Prize in the States?

    Well done Robyn.

    • lezlie on October 15, 2007 at 3:51 am

    this is really something all together. I see you got your formatting done beautifully! I somehow knew that you would.

    I told my husband about all you had going on this week and trying to clean house, as well. It must have inspired him… he did tidy up a bit!

    • pfiore8 on October 15, 2007 at 6:03 pm

    hope you don’t mind my promoting it… I wasn’t around yesterday much, and wished I’d be in on the discussion.

  1. Today is the first day I have been back blogging since I left for a week in Italy. It was good to read (and view) your heartfelt post today.

    In Italy we stayed in the most beautiful and undiscovered by tourist area in Italy – the Marche area which dates back to early Rome. The bed and breakfast we stayed in was actually a castle built in 1000 A.D.Complete with watchtower and moat.

    The castle was taken over (along with the country) by Napoleon. He gave this castle as a wedding present to his nephew – we actually stayed in the suite where the couple spent their honeymoon.

    The Italian facsists took over the castle in the build up to the second world war. It became a target of serious bombardments. The town that houses the castle was the last town in Italy to be liberated. At that point the castle was turned in a quasi hospital/R&R place for injured American soldiers – much to the delight of the owners who were kept as prisoners by the Italian army – along with the towns 900 people.

    5 years ago the grandson of the imprisoned owner of this magnificant structure started the restoration process. Today most of the castle is restored along with the most magnificant frescos I have ever seen.

    Upon returning home I bagan to think about what this castle has seen in its many lifetimes. The good. The bad. The ugly. It is still standing. But I bet there were times it wished it could pack a suitcase and leave town for 30 or 50 years.

    Luckily as humans we can. As sad as it makes me to say this, I think America will not rebound from the atrocities committed in our names in my lifetime. I don’t want to spend the next couple of decades watching this unfolding chapter as helpless to fix it as I was to prevent what created the current state we are in.

    So I am leaving. Not today. Not tomorrow. Over time – the next couple years. My husband and I have worked out an arrangement with the owners of the castle to trade sevices (marketing) for a permanent suite in that castle.

    • Edger on October 15, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    You can read it in the paper
    Read it on the wall
    Hear it on the wind
    If you’re listening at all

  2. the differance between the Iraq war and Vietnam is context – which this video lays out so well. We still had hope then.

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