I Am An American | 2013

From under neon spray-painted bridges
Below the Motor City sun
Hear the voices shouting over street-corner saxophones
Rich, caramel, story-filled voices
Glistening gold chains, puffed up chests and saggy jeans can’t cover
The gnawing, relentless poverty that riddles away the scarred menbelow
Still the voices ring out
“We are Americans.”

Charming classical notes float from the piano
Among the intricate antique chairs
Steaming green tea passes across wrinkled red lips
Into weary mouths forever locked into suave smiles
That wordlessly tell of weighty inheritances
Haughty laughter is released from their emerald-adorned throats
 Caught up in the endless string of sparkling gaieties that is simply life
 They pompously announce
“We are Americans”

 Machinery shrieks and echoes and rattles the tirelessfactory
 Scanty sunbeams struggle though thick, dust-filled air
Reflecting off beads of sweat upon dirty brows
 Laborers that have become a part of the machine
Their solid muscles are nothing more than gears and axels
But beneath tough skin, blood rushes through a heart filled with hope
 Liberty promised prosperity
They won’t stop until the promise is fulfilled
So with teeth bared
Shockingly white against the soot caked into the crevices of their skin
They scream
“We are Americans”
 
An unborn heart pumps rhythmically
Where nothing existed three weeks before
Curled up timidly in the blackness
It anticipates the moments that will someday be remembered
Days spent beside breaking waves on sandy beaches
Nights spent watching sparks float from flames to join an army of constellations
 For the unborn, the future holds talent
Wondrous world-changing talent
But now it floats in darkness
Inherently knowing
“I am an American”

The Hollywood sign hangs like a title overhead
Youthfulness fills the air
Streaming from stereo speakers
Reflecting off colored plastic sunglasses
Adolescent recklessness dictates actions
Daisy dukes and bare feet
Surf boards and untamed hair
Intoxicated by the obscurity of the future
Freedom fills their lungs
They shout
“We are Americans”

Farewell tears shimmer down his cheeks
Dressed in a uniform he will wear constantly in coming days
A final glance is tossed over his shoulder
A weeping family watches him step on the plane
Abandoning his hopes to the future
Brave, patriotic, unshakably loyal
Sacrifice has settled itself in the deepest parts of his mind
And had found no discomfort there
He watches a distant flag fluttering beside the landing strip
A flurry of red, white and blue
Humbly valiant, he declares
“I am an American.”