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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Not real American, What is America to me?

Separate and distinct thoughts: one contemporary, the other passé; one superficial, one substantive

“I am not a real American” by News Sources on April 21, 2013, “Someone posted the poem below as a comment. I thought it deserves the prominence of a post. It is written by Soheyl Dahi, an Iranian-born artist and writer who has lived in San Francisco since the late seventies. He operates Sore Dove Press ─ No, Not Me, After Harold Norse’s ‘I’m Not a Man’.” I agree with the person who posted this at “War in Context” (http://warincontext.org/2013/04/21/i-am-not-a-real-american/) and entered it here at Bennett’s Study: “Today’s Insight News.” By these standards, I too “am not a real American.”

I am not a real American
 because I speak English with an accent
 even though I don’t think with one.

I am not a real American
because I don’t play or watch baseball,
 I hate apple pie, red meat, pick-up trucks
 and sleeveless t shirts.

I am not a real American
because I won’t die for oil,
 or vote republican or democrat.
 The difference between the two is the same
 difference between Pepsi and Coke.

I am not a real American
because I will not do the pledge
 and I smile at those who tell me,
 “go back to where you came from.”
 As a citizen of the only empire,
 I have a right to be here
 or anywhere.

I am not a real American
because I don’t hate Jews, Arabs, Blacks, or Latinos
 and I won’t sell my house if one moved to my street.

I am not a real American
 because I don’t care what people do in their private lives.
 Hell, if two men or two women want to get married,

 that’s all right with me.

I am not a real American
 because I don’t think homelessness is a fact of life.

I am not a real American
because I will not call a human being illegal.

I am not a real American
because I like poetry and art
 especially during war time.

I am not a real American
because I listen to KPFA
 and I have friends who say they are
 communists or anarchists.

I am not a real American
 because I refuse to work 80 hours a week
 for a corporation which will chew me and spit me out
 at its convenience.

I am not a real American
 because, unlike 89% of the population,
 I hold a valid passport.

I am not a real American
because I cry when people are called
 collateral damage.

I am not a real American
because I speak English with an accent
 even though I don’t love with one.

Soheyl Dahi

And these… [1943-2013]

n the face of history and current events, widespread hostility, fear and fear mongering, paranoia and propagandathese words (“The House I Live In, ” 1943,  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bUT73L0nhM)  by Lewis Allan, music by Earl Robinson, sung by Robeson or Sinatra all dead) ring as the dead, hollow, even silly. 
What is America to me?A name, a map, or a flag I see?
A certain word ‘democracy’? / What is America to me?
 The house I live in, a plot of earth, a street
The grocer and the butcher and the people that I meet
The children in the playground, the faces that I see
All races and religions, that’s America to me The place I work in, the worker by my side
The little town or city where my people lived and died
The ‘howdy’ and the handshake, the air of feeling free
And the right to speak my mind out, that’s America to me The things I see about me, the big things and the small
The little corner newsstand and the house a mile tall
The wedding in the churchyard, the laughter and the tears
The dream that’s been growing for a hundred and fifty years
 The town I live in, the street, the house, the room
The pavement of the city or a garden all in bloom
The church, the school, the clubhouse, the millions of lights I see

But especially the people / That’s America to me

Lewis Allan

Wikipedia note:

In the film (released in 1945) “The House I Live In” Frank Sinatra sings the title song and his recording becomes a national hit. The lyrics were written in 1943 by Abel Meeropol under the pen name Lewis Allan. 


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