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Levi Strauss: You’ve Left Your Mark on the Ass of America

Roy McBride was born Dec 29th, 1943 with innate poetic instincts that became enhanced by his natural and family surroundings. Roy was a “love” poet because he loved all humanity. He added the vicissitudes of urban life, becoming a much loved urban poet. He was a spoken word performer, poet, journal keeper, visionary, master improviser, teacher, musician, and visual artist. He passed away on July 29th 2011. Secret Traffic, a posthumous publication of some of his poetry very appropriately gives an extensive poetic biography of this gentle man and his accomplishments, publications, and tributes.

BY ROY McBRIDE

1. America is starting to believe in herself.

She is painting her sky a skyer blue.

Latex white clouds float above her

Beneath improved sun

paisley trees flutter harmlessly

in the air of giant wind machines

America is going beyond her own mind

Monday Wednesday and Friday

everyone is white in America

Tuesday and Thursday are black days

Chicano brown Sunday

America is practicing brotherhood

American is playing brotherhood.

2. The world hates America and America hates the world

Giant ocean liners and 747s float each day

down the streets of Paris

tourists gawking through Polaroid windows

Americans bathe in French perfume

Their kitchen faucets are connected to Arabian oilfields

Each native hut in darkest Africa has a new Coke machine

America pays aboriginal people thousands of dollars a year

to work as extras in Margaret Mead’s books

America hates the world and the world hates America

Latin American dictators sit up nights

studying old Bogart movies.

trying to discover the secret identity

of the Statue of Liberty

Russian spies live in the Pentagon

sweeping floors washing dishes

shipping all garbage air mail to Moscow

Mao Tse Tung has the complete works of

Erle Stanley Gardner beside his bed

America often stares into the ocean

and is so frightened by what she sees

coffee cups shudder in Omaha

3. The President spends all his spare time

nailed to a cross on the White House lawn

But people don’t appreciate it

They wonder why our President

Doesn’t sleep on a bed of nails

like the Prime Minister of India

Every eleven years the President

riding a red white and blue float

down Main Street

has a stake driven deep into his heart

but people forget

and soon are booing his lonely spirit

floating above

the political conventions

4. To be free in America you must be brave

braver than Nathan Hale

braver than Daniel Boone or Davy Crockett

braver than Nat Turner

braver than Teddy Roosevelt

braver than Harry Truman

braver even than The Incredible Hulk

who fears nothing but himself

the man the American

deep inside his green skin

To be free in America you must carry

ten thousand years of American guilt

on your shoulders without collapsing

you must shoulder the blame for the loss

of thousands of cargo ships

full of all good things

things all Americans must have

or they will start eating

tearing flesh from bone with perfect justice

To be free in America you must carry

a great pyramid of products made in America

and still walk a straight line

5. The anguished scream

The anguished dream of America

The battles joined

The New York Mets vs. the Chicago Seven

The Kansas City Chiefs vs. The Minnesota Eight Who can win these games

Why can make rules that will make a dream come true

America emerges as a giant wet dream

full of life

full of death

The Black Panthers stalk the New York Yankees

in Lincoln Center sponsored by Leonard Bernstein

6. Men are allegedly killing men

in front of billions of people

Men driving straight into death

fasten their seatbelts

so that their insurance policies

will cover them

with a green mantle of American dollars

Men are locking their most prized possessions

In highly tuned bombs

exploding them at midnight

Americans float band-aids

fifty miles square

over tiny villages

to hide where they’ve been

7. Americans from Sioux City Iowa are in the capitals

of Europe are in Japan are in South America

meeting people seeing things

Can’t you see Americans

Trees in Iowa plot the death of America

Dandelions sprout in the suburbs

There is no way to stop this yellow menace

Crabgrass is out to overcome all law and order

Sparrows roost in the eaves of your cities

and will not be moved

Each night the fences that hide you from your neighbors

creep inches closer to where you are sleeping

8. Where would I be without America

Where would we be without America

Henry Ford was an American

John D. Rockefeller was an American

Abraham Lincoln was an American

Where would we be without Ford

Where would we be without Rockefeller

Where would we be without Lincoln

Get in your car

Drive around

Think about this

9. There are holes in America

so wide so deep so full of mystery

that a whole generation of buffalo has disappeared

Indian warriors have been lost in search for culture

A father wanders the dark corners of New York

searching for his runaway daughter

She walks the misty streets of San Francisco

searching for a father

They have ridden in cars buses trains planes ships

deep into the dark holes

We have so far to go Please hurry

Deep beneath America nations are lost

10. Black and White Americans eye each other

over millions of miles of barbed wire

Bodies like scarecrows sway on the wire

Crews from both sides are out to repair gaps

There are so many

They are always behind

Brown Red and Yellow Americans

Search for their place choose sides

Highway departments build rest stops

every fifty miles

11. This land isn’t America

These trees these mountains aren’t American

Ask them Ask them if they’re American

They’ll laugh at you

They’ll roll and humble over you—man—

12. Hearts erupt so often in America

people walk lightly sniffing the air

looking around jumping at the slightest sound

Voices of despair float through the cities

night and day

Some days whole cities blow up

13. There are movements in the jungles of our hearts

We are hoping are eyes will adjust to this darkness

It has been so many years since shepherds

silently worshipped the moon

Dogs howl at our lack of understanding

Goldfish mourn the extinction of their finny brothers

Our deeds won’t remain hidden

Garbage can tops leap under the wheels

of passing trucks

incinerators write messages

high above cities

Dinosaur bones keep appearing in the dining room table

God has forgotten the mandate he gave Adam

Can’t find anything in his files to account for us.

14. We have mountains to move

mountains that must be trained to sit up

to roll over and play dead to eat from our hands

We have volcanoes that must be taught their ABC’s

that must learn to live in cities without eruptions

The Rockies and Urals must learn to get strong

despite their differences

Fujiyama Vesuvius Everest Matterhorn Pike’s Peak

sitting down for a cup of tea or a game of cards

learning how to handle their bodies in heavy traffic

15. The end of this world

climbs out of the ocean

each morning with the sun

Birds chirp that the angel of death

has been asking for us

Walking the wire high above the pit

becomes harder each day

How we wish our mothers would hug us

would stroke our heads and say

it is only a dream.

16. We want to feel better

We want shoes that will sing poetry to our feet

clothes that cling like water to water flesh to flesh

We want to wake to a morning of continuing our joyful habits

on and on and on and on

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