OREGON: The American Star

  • Voice Only

  • Music Only


OREGON: The American Star

The American star. 
The bride in her white veil. 
The groom’s muscles 
straining across the shoulders 
of his penguin costume. 
Good, clean ignorance. 
Our country underneath a blue sky. 
The well-clipped lawns of our universities. 
All the grass like a fifty yard line. 
Forward or back, either way 
toward moments lacking clarity. 

OREGON: The American Star

The savage red dog 
running behind us, in front, 
when it should be the beast 
wearing the accountant’s hat. 
The one who turns everything 
into a number, a value. 
That creature dining on 
all of us, as sweet as caviar. 
As compliant as the long 
and briefly dead. 
Whoever can be carved 
into a statue for pigeons, 
except on the first day 
we gather ‘round 
to salute whatever 
truth or lies conjure 
the most dramatic purpose 
of the hero’s existence. 
That lapse in judgement 
to die as a lesson to those 
still trying to figure out how to live. 
All the better if, like the robe of Christ, 
the flag is used to shield the modesty 
of the heroically deceased. 

A bomb of a car, a missile, 
the deck of an aircraft carrier. 
Golden fields stretching away 
on either side, like the endless 
opening up of heaven. 
Ten miles to the gallon 
and a thousand miles to go, 
until you reach a coast. 
One dark, gray ocean. 
One blue, lined with white sand. 
Always a place to declare 
allegiance to the wind 
that blows the fluff 
of possibility, of chance 
taken, massaged, beaten 
with a hammer, 
kissed, polished with a handkerchief, 
made into the venerated object 
which will put food on the table, 
and allow you to raise your children 
with the same hope that 
the magic known as “opportunity” 
will guide them down the path 
to home ownership, 
to vacations in exotic places, 
to a lack of dependence 
on winning the lottery of 
“Last chance for gas in your lifetime!” 

We have swallowed too many hidden agendas. 
These occupy the invisible space inside of us 
set aside for warm days resting next to 
streams, on the banks of rivers, on those beaches 
bringing us waves and water, and in the distance 
the mystery where sky and earth connect 
and stars wait for night 
to tell us of those other worlds 
looking back at us and seeing 
someplace waiting for light 
to part the darkness.