— Larry McMurtry, Horseman, Pass By
Our national anthem is a rude cadence of jackhammers
commencing at 7 a.m. in the street outside your window.
Call it a desperate dream, but we want to fall from history.
To flee the thieving glow and pronouncement of porchlights.
Maybe move somewhere that the reddishness of an evening
doesn’t call to mind the bloodletting it took to settle there.
What am I saying? I’m saying we’re suckers for America.
Besieged citizens know exactly what I’m talking about—
we imagined the place a church, holy, blessed by God,
but it’s one big factory town with a pissed-off foreman
and the threat of lay-off to keep the day-shift on its toes.
Who could’ve predicted that patter would be as sweet
to the ear, and about as persuasive, as the Eden snake?
America, you’re like that woman most men would love
to take to bed—some women too—who’s a screamer
and a jolt to your senses but no treat to wake up with.
As gorgeous as it gets when the air fills with howling,
a depraved beauty who reminds you of a dog craving
the scent of rotted meat and landfills. A nasty bitch
with a perfect reason for every awful thing she does.