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The newswoman says there's
a new if familiar
arch-demon
loose on the world,

while with soft baritone strokes,
the handsome, cavalier newsman
smoothly paints
an entertaining canvas of
a hungry, rabid devil bear
flying the hammer-and-sickle,
loose on the night
of noble Ukraine,
before filling in the holes
with erudite cliches
and the latest fashionable quote

imagining America
as a polished paradise,
I smugly think of Stalin's cold purges
and "Animal Farm,"
and envision a heroic tank parade,
as I tap my feet
to the catchy war-drum beat

but an hour later,
caught in
a smoggy, political traffic jam,
with no way to vote out,
Tchaikovsky comes
on the radio
like a masterfully melodic valkyrie,
summoning beautiful images
of bright-colored spires,
Pasternak's pastoral countryside,
and of the poet Pushkin
taking tea after
a close but victorious duel

I imagine my cousins
'defending democracy'
(driven on by
their boss officers'
relentless giant thumb,)
giving and taking
deathly fire
on the corpse-adorned field
of sacred battle
(I picture the newswoman's
pretty smirk, red dress,
and imperial air)

And then the repressed reality
returns to me,
as I see the devil bear
turn from Russia
to Iraq
to sly-eyed China,
to the kaiser's Germany,
to Vietnam,
to the followers
of Martin Luther King
(trailed by protective agents,)
bleeding on the wrong side
of a black-and-white screen
that has since gained color
but not nuance

I know America.
I've lived her city-scapes;
I've travelled
her sprawling highways.
I know her heaven,
I know her hell.

and I know
that she should
not supremely dominate
the entire world,
and that this
is the mad goal
of many powerful,
arrogant souls...
those many-ringed,
many-faced, neo-Mongol trolls
who gather at Hiltons
for high seminar-balls
and pull silver-strings
to light the fire
of the newswoman's coat
and inspire
her charming confidence
and charismatic spasms,
along with these whole pre-scripted,
fire-side conversations

that help the chubby masses believe
we live on democracy's moon,
when out truth's window
is a view
of a vast and mighty,
essentially oligarchic empire,
exporting our ballots and boardwalks,
our smoothies, our drones, and our togas...

while extorting fealty and treasure
from Thailand, from London,
from Egypt,
from small far-flung nations
we couldn't possibly name
because we don't care,
unless they're to be blamed
as a rogue-nation or scape-bear

but our own culture
is aggressive, crass and empty
and we're not truly free...
we're not democratic Athens
but imperial Rome,
living in 7 bedroom houses
and watching helmeted gladiators
under the super-dome,
and I guess to many
that feels like home...
so Hannibal and Spartacus
and their armies
must be evil gnomes

but once they're conquered,
our masters are strong...
and their gratitude,
it won't last long.
they'll want more oil;
they'll want more gold;
they'll want our votes
on where we're sold

see,
Mother Russia
may be cold and cruel
but one can see
through inches of wool...
that her offense
is not being
a Yankee tool


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The following comments are for "an American on Russia"
by seanspacey





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