It’s come to that.
I’ve been sick of my country for a long time,
Ever since I stopped being a kid.
When I learned about the atomic bombing of Japan.
Then Vietnam brought it home.
I was writing Romantic poetry
Until the age of 12.
Then my poetic soul
Gently urged me to wake up.
I woke up like Neo in the Matrix
In a bath of amniotic fluid
Covered with suctioning electrodes
Which I pulled off,
Gasping for air
Like a premature newborn
Adult human being.
All Romantic notions
Of One Nation Under God,
Hand to the heart,
Swearing allegiance became just swearing.
Something hit the window of my house of mirrors.
I picked up the still-warm
Bird of my youthful soul
And got sick right there,
Sick of my country.
I have nothing to prove to my country.
My country needs to win me back.
Hand over heart, face mask for protection.
Stop making us sick.
I have recently heard that people who immigrate to this country experience a decline in their general health after living her for a while. That doesn’t surprise me. At 67, with chronic Lyme, I am not exactly the model of health, and we all know how stressful it is to live here. Even in the peak of health, there are stresses that can undermine anyone’s sense of well-being, no matter how resilient they may be. I won’t delve into the list of potential stresses concomitant with being an American. But, with this poem, I felt the need to document how I got sick of this country a long time ago. It has nothing to do with who is president. It is more a matter of how so much of what my country stands for, how it spends my taxes, and how it conducts itself abroad,how it treats its own citizens of color and women was obnoxious to me from the raw age of 12. I often wonder, if I had spent the last 30 or so years in, say, New Zealand,would I be healthier and happier? Duh.