(Apologies to Allen Ginsberg)
America Inc we've given you all and now we've nothing.
America Inc seven hundred billion to Fat Cats September 28, 2008.
We can't stand our own Republic.
America Inc when will we end the blood letting?
Go fuck yourself with your pork barrels
We feel horrid, stop the bleeding numbers.
We'll write our poems till we're stark out of our minds.
America Inc when will you fight for us?
When will our emperor wear his regal robes?
When will you look at yourself through our eyes?
When will you be worthy of our billions in bullion?
America Inc why do your crooks ravage our coffers?
America Inc why do you send work to India, Pakistan, Vietnam...?
We're sick of your voracious demands.
When can we seek food and clothes and buy what we want with our Amex cards?
America Inc after all it is us who are innocent, not you and the "recession."
Your greed machinery is too much for us.**
You created us into giant sucking leeches.
There must be some other way out of this.
George Bush skulks in the Whitehouse Goddamn evil--all sinister.
Are you being sinister or is this some form of political joke?
We're trying to comprehend this bailout.
We're forced to give in to your obsessions.
America Inc stop stealing you don't know what you're doing.
America Inc the fat interest rates are falling.
We hang on the internet for months, every day somebody goes on trial for nefarious deeds.
America Inc I feel sentimental about the Clintons.
America Inc we used to be idealists when we were kids and now we're not.
We used to drop acid and smoke weed every chance we got.
We sit in our houses for days on end and stare at oil prices rising.
When we watch the debates we get drunk and are never satisfied.
Our minds are made up there's going to be an election.
You should have seen us reading "The Wasteland."
The Republicans think the fundamentals of our system are just fine.
We pray at the Altar of Mediocrity and Consumer Excess.
We are being fed trickle down bullshit and voodoo economics.
America Inc we still don't know how Uncle Sam will spend our bucks after he swipes them from the treasury.
Yes America Inc. We mean you.
Are you going to let our political life be run by CNN?
We're obsessed by CNN and the Internet.
We watch and surf every day.
The screen seduces us every time we slink past the Big Box Store Electronics Department.
We stare at Political Talking Heads who analyze what we should be thinking and feeling.
The wide screen squawks about fiscal responsibility. Businesspeople are frivolous.
YouTube is frivolous. Everybody's frivolous but us.
It strikes us like a bolt we are America Inc.
I am talking to myself again.
China is rising up against us.
We haven't got an Enron's chance.
We'd better consider our alternative fuels.
Our alternative fuels consist of two gallons of gas millions of oil barrels
an undrivable VW Bus that putts along at 25 miles per hour
twentyfivethousand dying fiduciary institutions.
We are mum about our money and the billions of pennies that creak under
our mattresses in the dark with the scurry of five hundred bedbugs.
We have forsaken the museums of France, Yellowstone is the next to go.
Our goal to elect a steady-handed President despite the fact that he's not like us.
America Inc how can we write a political rant to spite your spend spend spend mood?
We will continue like the Fords my poetic turns are as individual as their
minivans more so they're all different colors of money
America Inc we will let you foreclose on our houses nothing down we'll live in our Fords
America Inc free our money
America Inc let us clip our daily coupons
America Inc The Lehman Brothers must not die
America Inc Barack is not one of the Scottsboro boys.
America Inc when we were tots our mommas took us to A&W they
sold us hot dogs and root beer floats a frothy mug cost a quarter and
the speeches were free everybody was angelic and sentimental about
Joe the Plumber and his dad Joe Six-pack all so sincere you have no idea what a good thing the party
was in 1961 JFK was a vigorous young man a real Camelot Later Mother
Jones made me cry I once saw Jim Morrison smoking dope. Everybody must have
been a spy.
America Inc you don't really want to continue this war.
America Inc it's them bad Al-Qaeda.
Them Al-Qaeda them Al-Qaeda and that Osama bin Laden. And them Iraqis.
The Iraq wants to suck us dry. The Iraq's oil mad. Him wants to take
our fuel out of our gasoline tanks.
Him wants to grab Wells Fargo Bank. Him needs a Shiite Reader's Digest. Him wants our
McDonald's in Estonia. America Inc a big bureaucracy running our ATM's.
That no good. Ugh. Her makes immigrants learn read. Her need big black limos.
Hah. Her make us all work sixteen hours a day. Help.
America Inc this is not frivolous.
America Inc this is the impression I get from surfing the internet.
America Inc is this just a correction?
We'd better get right down to Wall Street.
We don't want to pay up instead we would cold cock CEOs with their Golden
Parachutes, we're cold-eyed and wacko pissed off anyway.
America Inc I'm dragging my tired and weary ass to the daily grind--
And for what?
*This poem is a nearly line-for-line update of Allen Ginsberg's America; therefore, the webmaster hesitates to claim this derivative poem as her own.
Is this considered a found poem? A response poem? A springboard poem?
Perhaps "America Inc" offers a bit of each aspect.
The webmaster did not just "find" Ginsberg's "America"; she knew of it and purposely sought it out but was not intimate with the text and did not know if it would work as a mirror poem to "America Inc." However, the title was right.
"America Inc" is not a direct response to "America." The webmaster does not pretend to carry on a conversation with Allen Ginsberg the poet, nor does she question Ginsberg's original intent and obvious frustration with 1956 America. One minor aspect of "America Inc" simply offers an indirect conversation between the 1956 and 2008 Americas.
The webmaster has primarily set out to rail against the Corporate America of 2008, which has landed our country in this current financial morass. So in that sense, Ginsberg's "America" has acted as a springboard text for "America Inc."
In "Writing Good Bad Poetry" (Poets & Writers, November/December 2008), poet Mike Chasar makes a good case for writing the kind of "quick" poetry that is unapologetically topical and does not set out to stand the test of time (39). As an example, Chasar notes his own "good bad" poem "Sonnet for the Aftermath," based on a 2006 tornado that tore through Iowa City, destroying several local businesses, homes, and a university sorority house. As a newly hired "deadline poet" for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, the author was given two hours to create a poem for the next edition.
The author, apparently somewhat ambivalent about the overall quality of his "good bad" deadline poem, says,
I understand more clearly--given the passing of time and the more critical distance--the nature of deadline poetry's badness and, at the same time, what good it might do for the op-ed page (41).This kind of journalistic poem seems to have its place in the popular culture, an unabashed non-cerebral poem that appeals to the daily readers of the local newspaper, some who would enjoy and appreciate the kind of poems often published in "coffee table" poetry anthologies that literary types might would refer to as vanity publications.
The webmaster's poem is not great, nor is it original, for without "America," "America Inc" would not exist in this form, which obviously reflects Allen Ginsberg's loose stanzaic style, non-standard grammar, and inconsistent punctuation.
**Lines in red are directly from "America."
A Reading of "America," Allen Ginsberg