America

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America

is a vast desolate plantation with
an eerie wind tone signaling deep space.

It’s an ocean of forbidden red wine reaching 
for throats once transformed into statues smeared
in albatross shit. The kind you step into when 
wandering the dusty sidewalks of Atlantic City smoking
your last pack of Newports.

Petrified shit clinging to the skin like an Amarillo clings to its armor. 
And a nation of armored Pilgrims, washing bloodstreams of leopard seals
pushed onto the algae spotted boulders of a fishing harbor in Yakima.

It’s Salem witch trials and the taste of Knoxville’s bourbon,
barreled oak staves and a tumbler finished with cocktail mint garnishes,
next to a styrofoam plate of McDonald’s cheeseburgers splayed out on
a clear white plastic picnic table. It’s automatic rifles, too, and

What I saw in Sterling Creek. Poisoned arrowheads in the walls of churches
and a mushroom cloud on the back of a turtle carrying the world towards
the mysterious safety of the woods. Gremlins in Grand Rapids dancing under
the glow of Jupiter’s closest satellites, and the Jesus religion, through television
transmissions, billboards. YouTube, Stormtrooper boots and hemmed blouses on
an escalator at the Met. DNA codes. Tattoed necks. Marine buzzcuts. Lemon meringue
pies and crop circles in the cornfields of Des Moise. What Tesla heard on the mountaintop
in Colorado. The luminous ambiguity of being separated at birth by the heavens.

George Cassidy Payne is a poet from Rochester, NY. His work has been included in such publications as the Hazmat Review, Moria Poetry Journal, Chronogram Journal, Ampersand Literary Review, the Angle at St. John Fisher College, and 3:16 Journal. George’s blogs, essays and letters have appeared in the USA Today, Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, the Havana Times, the South China Morning Post, the Buffalo News, and more. 

See all his poems on Tea House here.


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