Saturday, August 8, 2009

Back in Amurika

After about three months of traveling around, I’m back in the States—or Amurika as my Auntie A calls it. I’m slowly re-entering to this pace and first stayed a week with my boyfriend and his family out in California—in Orange County no less. And, yup, I’ve punched my Big Mac Card, strolled about Fashion Island, and indulged in the beach, feeling rather Americany. And here’s the thing: I love it. When I saw a pet stroller, poppy-pink, I found myself disgusted and intrigued all at once and thought of these lines from Tony Hoagland’s poem “America:”  “…Each day you watch rivers of bright merchandise run past you / And you are floating in your pleasure boat upon this river / Even while others are drowning underneath you….”  You can say what you want about Hoagland’s poems, and I might agree with you, but I admire how Hoagland is willing to go there, “there” being where most academic poets are too goody-two-shoes to go. In “America” for example, the speaker divulges that he thinks his student is full of crap, reveals a dream about stabbing his father, and admits his hand might play a part in the materialistic dribble that’s our culture. That beats describing suburbia from that distance that keeps one’s hands as clean as the sanitizer on them.  While I have enjoyed some of those type of poems, I’m now reading so many of them that they seem too stock, too safe—too pre-packaged and ready-made.  That is barely okay when it comes to lunch, but in poetry where one cannot sell out—why not take more risks?


Link to “America” by Tony Hoagland from his book What Narcissism Means to Me:

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