CROSSING THE CONTINENT ON THE TONGUE

so what do we make of the states
with their highways
and public universities

amid the constellations of cities
and the pulsing veins
of commerce

from the English /
New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Rhode Island
the royalties of Georgia, Carolinas, Virginia (East and West),
and Maryland

from the French /
Louisiana (the ubiquitous king) and Vermont (green mountain)

from the Spanish /
Florida (Easter), Colorado (red), New Mexico, Montana (mountains)

from the uniquely American identification /
Indiana and Washington

from the native strain /
Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware
Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio
Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota
Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas
Arkansas, Missouri, Alabama, Mississippi
Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona
Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon

and then California – half Spanish, half Indian
with its dreams of gold

as the complementary opposite of blue

rock, as a balance to air
with any sense of beauty
or hope

from an orderly life, instead

greed produces trash

that’s not a fork in the road
but a spoon in the street

still hot from the flame

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