SAL/ON

A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

“[Untitled America Poem],” by Maia Pody

[Untitled America Poem]

If great means impressive then yes though
I’m easily impressed
by American dream teen movie queen bees
preordained aspirations
and silverware sets six generations

needs more dog parks and ice cream and garbage trucks
needs less cars coca cola clearance clothing sale commercials
less promise breaker mistake maker human error budget cuts

I’m impressed by the freedom cries and dime novel spies
I’m impressed by the lies and the crimes and the high profile homicides
each impression perforates skin
to the point that our heads are dented

words come with bundles of definitions and subtexts
invisible meanings
spurious connotations scale up and plunge in
words are easily corruptible

you can speak loud enough that you don’t have to listen
you can paint billboards to say it was greatness
it was grandparents egg creams radio nostalgia
it was home hearth apple pie christmas tree comfort zone
this was greatness
if you say so

it is not a competition
but if you say we’re winning
we will stay for a few more rounds
and if you say we’re losing
we will blame someone else
we will wash blood clots off like spilled lemonade
down the drain, not into
our water supply

we will work hard and say it with anger
‘but i work hard i worked hard to get here someone worked hard to get me here’
we will separate in clumps
we will give each other looks on the bus
we will exploit the vulnerabilities that life is heir to
we will fight little wars
we will ignore ourselves until it’s too late
we will make an incision
we will steal your bone marrow
and you will always feel belonged to
less than
greater than or equal to

if great means impressive then yes
though I suppose I’m not hard to impress


Maia Pody, 2018/19 Youth Poet Laureate Cohort member, read this powerful poem as part of SAL’s Celebration of National Poetry Month on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, presented jointly with Warby Parker at their Capitol Hill shop.

The celebration also featured 2018/19 Youth Poet Laureate, Azura Mizan Tyabji; 2016 Youth Poet Laureate, Maven Gardner; members of the 2018/19 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate Cohort, Alex Newsom, and Kiyoshi Sakauye; Washington State Poet Laureate, Claudia Castro Luna; and Seattle Civic Poet, Anastacia-Reneé. Thank you to all of our readers!

Know a talented youth writer? Encourage them to apply for the title of 2019/20 Youth Poet Laureate on our website. YPL applications are due on May 1, 2019, so be sure to apply soon.

Posted in Youth Poet Laureate