America’s Summer Dream of 2011

This poem is dedicated to America’s soul-searching crisis in the summer of 2011. It holds today’s reality against selected strands of Katharine Lee Bates’ 1913 “America the Beautiful” woven in italics. 

America’s Summer Dream of 2011

By Zaman Stanizai

Across the wilderness

just this side of the amber waves

on the rolling hills

near the foot of the purple majesties

America contemplates

a proposal of marriage with

Corporate Capitalism,

as she stands in deep thought

searching for her lost soul

in the dark reflections of time.

Farther away,

at the juncture of

reason and resentment,

reform and revolution

stand their ground

on the battlefield.

Tension cheers them on:

ideas rejected in shame,

ideals betrayed,

values abandoned in wilderness,

dreams denied.

Plutocracy courts Democracy,

on a blind date,

like fading beacons of hope.

From the far horizon in the east

under the spacious skies

the trail of hijacked wagons

screech their wheels

carrying American ideals

held hostage by greed

who stands guard whip in hand.

Hostages seated facing back,

gazes lost in trailing cloud of dust.

Identities’ cries held in crisis,

glimpsed in passing:

government of the people,

for the people…

separation of powers…

checks and balances…

private property…

labor unions…

entrepreneurial spirit…

land of the free…

home of the….

Wandering nostalgia

‘goaled in rush’

reflects in a mirrored pond.

The summer breeze rings in

America’s echoed whisper:

Confirm thy soul… thy soul…

in self-control,… control…

thy liberty in law… in law.

A soft laughter awakens me.