The America I know is strong hands

reaching out to help those in need of company

reaching out to press warm tortillas on a stovetop

reaching out to hold the door open

reaching out to invite a bystander to dance

reaching out to create murals, musicals, moments of history

reaching out to do what is right and not what is easy

reaching out to protect all those who are in harm’s way

reaching out for the huddled masses of any name

reaching out with open palms and not closed fists

reaching out towards a world of compassion

reaching out towards all the days of tomorrow.


The America I see is closed eyes

closed against a changing world

closed against the loss of was

closed against the suffering of others

closed against the rise of hate

closed against the greater sameness

closed against the consequence of no-choice

closed against the Others we make

closed against all we hold dear until it slips away

closed against truth

closed against pain

closed against understanding

closed against other closed eyes until all the world is blind.


The America to be is uncertain

we can be heroes like our comics and fairytales

we can be monsters like the ones that fright us when we’re alone

we can be foreign to ourselves in a land of our own making

we can be scavengers raiding and cold with estranged honor

we can be the empire before our entertainment destroyed us

we can be distopia or utopia or nothing at all

we can be more than we are.

But will we?


Will we will the world into being?

Will we will the end of days?

Will we will a golden age?

Will we will a nightmare?

What will we will?


The America I want to be is a heart that reaches the whole world

The America I will to be is a proud nation of optimism

The America I look to see is action imbued with hope.


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Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Barnett