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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Monday, July 04, 2016

entry arrow12:46 PM | Thirteen Ways of Looking at America

It's the Fourth of July! And since the day invites us to look America, I am reminded that one of my favourite poems about America is by the fantastic Irish poet, my friend Michael McKimm, whom I dearly miss. Here's his "Thirteen Ways of Looking at America":

From a car, through a world that’s turned to corn, red barns,
    huge machinery, and a church that says, “Read the Bible, it will
    scare the hell out of you!”

From the banks of the Iowa River, where a snake comes out
    of the grass like a belt, testing the air with its buckle-tongue

From the Mark Twain Diner with a Mark Twain Burger
    and a Mark Twain cup of tea

From another car, Chicago’s stickleback in the rearview and
    the Lake’s blue lung swollen with fishing boats

From space, as in the installation by Aaron Koblin in the Museum
    of Modern Art that shows air traffic over the United States as
    colored lights, a slow firework spraying in and out during the day,
    careful and beautiful

From a tour boat in Chicago, where the not-half-decent docent
    tells us that this building has one hundred and ninety-eight
    floors, including parking, and was designed by, you guessed it,
    Merrill, Owings and Skidmore

From the booth of a bar with a sign that says, “I’m Irish, what’s
    your excuse?”

In a nightclub, where you happen upon the Iowa State Drag
    Queen championships, arms outstretched with dollar bills. This
    you did not expect

America is standing in a room with Pocahontas, Worzel Gummidge,
    a bedbug, and at least three Chilean miners. Halloween,
    in New York City at least, is no longer about darkness and all about
    just having fun. Something about this disturbs you

I love the way in America the planes fly so low you can really see
    the fall colors and the cities cut like circuit boards

I love the mechanics and labor of your hand-towel dispensing units.
    That lever does for me again and again

I love that even in the cold the sky is blue, the sun is out, the air is
    crisp and clear

O, my America, my new found land! Where the poems are as long
    as the highways, and there is no such thing as a short story

Michael was the winner of an Eric Gregory Award in 2007, and his collection Still This Need was published in 2009.

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