I don’t know the american dream

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

embarrassed fright

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.