American


Once upon a time, an ancient Japanese ghost banged a cherry tree and lo, in the resultant pink and lucid blossoms, the American constitution was born. Aaah, says the Japanese ghost, I knew that these pink blossoms would bring reason and truth to America.

“America, what is America?” said the eagles, said the wrens, said the multitudes of birds who rode the air like water, their currents and circulations bending the stories of America and its conceptual underpinnings even as the ink was still wet.

The newspaper was the first dry message of America to Americans. They wrapped their meat and their fish in ink, they relied on stained and rumpled stories. What is American truth? said the halibut column and the features of cold beef. What is American truth? Said the bunches of flowers in the early undelivered morning? What is American truth? said the satori of tuberculosis and the crushing of children in dark heavy factories and the sudden brief enlightenment that burnt bright for 50 years, that threatens right at this very moment  to gutter and expire, here, in our very privileged lungs, gasping like dying fish, like first responders, like Massy men, waiting for someone to breathe deep, speak the American truth out loud, to bring the coral reef and the constitution back from the brink, bring air back into the discourse that fills each one of us, a gasp, a sigh, an exhalation, a prayer. 

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