Watching them erect The American Dream ice letters

Bob Perelman, Philadelphia

The first letter is, surprising for a second but not a surprise: I

People dream as individuals, when asleep, the private cranium stuffed with public speech, but nevertheless, I

then the next letter spelling out IC

and so the interior of the letters are already speaking the disgust their glitter contains

my garage with the 9 foot 8 inch hoop attached above the door, my photosynthetic petrochemical lawn off to the side — dandelions not welcome, ICK

then ICA — contemporary art is always what we need, awake or asleep

now RICAN asking when are we going to stop strangling the Puerto Rican economy

and now I’m way behind: it says AMERICAN DR and we certainly need more doctors, plus giving RNs more leeway to act

As they’re fussing with the kerning, shoving the R and the D over (otherwise it might start to say AMERIC AND REAM, which is one way to think of it), anyway, as they fuss, it’s hard to not focus on the steady stream of water drops flowing from the bottom of the M

And now it’s saying AMERICAN DREAM, in Baskerville, Marshall tells me. Nora says it’s the font on the dollar bill. I have to say it’s nicer without the definite article. American dream, adjective noun — last night I slept on an American mattress, well, an IKEA mattress, which means a Swedish mattress, a global mattress, yes. But also an American mattress and I had an American dream, something about making spaghetti for friends, and . . .

but aren’t dreams boring? and anyway, now it’s HE AMERICAN DREAM and don’t we all know it?

Will the T which they’re just putting up now help with the HE problem? Not that much, I’m afraid.

Now to sit here in this wired-up tent and watch the letters thin. There they stand, each on its bottom. It’s not script, no hand wrote these letters, a skilled chainsawer carved them out of the originary ice. All caps, it’s Roman imperial — Trump can’t win, OK? There are bottom lines below the bottom lines we’ve been crashing through all my life.

Now the letters are getting scrawny, people are posing in front of them, touching them. All the letters are going to melt, libraries archives and the worldwideweb nonwithstanding.

But meanwhile how much longer do we have to read the same thing, live in front of the same phrase

out of many dreams and waking perspectives just the one dream?

Toasted susie is one person’s ice cream and there is enough for different tongues

to taste speak and judge

Meanwhile, it’s hot and many people are waiting