BORN IN THE USA (we both say)

classified categorized signified

Who am I?

This is where I was born.

You think you know?

We are all….

We are all….

Every one of us, the same

must be geography

blame culture

this, a place no one wants to claim

because every one of us is the same

Right?

Does one voice speak for us all?

cultural assumptions

invisible me, an anomaly

No.

You think you know.

assume

They are that way.

simplify

Yet you with your own national pride

expect respect, are not denied

But those people, the U.S.,

they are THAT way.

Some things never change

(we both say)

Two Times across the Tappan Zee Bridge

Image

 

The first time was at dusk.  The Hudson River stretched

like an invitation in the gentlest glow, both banks’

forest green arms holding me, as I rose with the bridge.

And at the top, nightfall’s vision sang, and I held,

floated there, watching the city catch the river.

Her skyscrapers gathered and huddled and whispered

of the night to come, and began to switch on spots

of bright into the fading light.  And beside, tiny, immense

Liberty stood, knowing the city and flowing the river,

and lifted us all across the bridge.

 

When I returned, it was morning.  The light was harsher,

less forgiving.  The climb to the top of the bridge seemed

steeper, somehow, for us all.  And I saw signs, along

the railings, read them.  “Don’t give up. There is hope.

Call the hotline.”  Street signs. Bridge signs. Signs.

At the top: “Do not jump.”  On this, the North side, only

the river, the fall.  And the ghosts that had put all the signs

on the bridge.  I could still see them jumping.  And my car

would not float but wanted to stop and fling its doors

open for me.  But the sign said, “Do not jump.”