Orchid Tierney, Philadelphia
I don’t know the american dream
& the american dream doesn’t
know me & I don’t know what it means
but yesterday I said to Ari, as Bob said
to me (with words to this effect) the grass
is greener on the other side, and I thought
then, well, who speaks outside this
speech quote american dream—
aside from the man who knocked over
the letters CA , grasping a shard of
(cris: ‘California is gone!’) ice, with
as passersby took his photo.
Perhaps the american dream is like beetle juice
& if we say it three times, it will appear,
marred, jolted, awkwardly unuseful
enough to water grass bathe drink.
But I still don’t know what to know
about this thin thing american dream
unless I excavate public words in &
around ‘god bless america’ spaces
& convert this feeling to a
stuttered ahhhhh foreign accented utterance
that acknowledges the lacunae
in this tentacled dream.
Like I said to Ari yesterday, actually, words lack
honestly honesty without acknowledgement
(with acknowledgement etymologically
as a form of confession).
So I wonder if this american dream confesses,
then, a continuous (re)settlement,
a refused thinking to speak, know, & point
to ugly things, slow violence, difficult communities,
scrunched faces in acts of catastrophe.
To this end, it is dishonestly resilient
unlike the people who believe
in the american dream
& breathlessly utter, like beetle juice,
the american dream the american dream the american dream.