a hymn of hate to America

this poem was written is a towering rage
at the height of the war in Vietnam
the Americans were defoliating North
Vietnam’s forests with Agent Orange and
sitting fire to its people with napalm –
an American general threatened to:
‘bomb Vietnam back to The Stone Age’
now’s the time to re-publish?

I dream that 
I’ll awake one day
and find America sunk
some bubbles where the oceans meet
floating Coke cans ticker tape
all that’s left of Uncle Sam

I’d have no pity
no glycerin tears
like the Titanic
the good would go down
with the bad
some might be saved
I alone would decide

I hate America
all that free world stuff
and liberty
all that moonshine democracy:
I weep for the Scottsboro Boys
I mourn old Sacco and Vanzetti

I wouldn’t fling a line to Nixon
or launch a raft
for any White House gang
given a chance
I’d shove the wretches under 
that’s for Korea
that’s for Vietnam
and that’s 
for bubble gum you bums

I hate America
all that pious apple pie
all that poisonous ice cream
all those shoot-outs
all those cops
all those company strike-breakers 
in cosy Florida retirement homes

some American I’ve loved
some Americans 
I’d snatch from the sea:
Clint Eastwood
Doris Day
Sugar Ray
a few jazz musicians
the odd poet
Chuck Berry say
but the rest 
can go down singing:
‘my country ’tis of thee’


Jeff Cloves

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