My instinct tells me
my country doesn’t need bifocals.
America needs the long view only.
America knows reading rots the mind.
America loves kittens on chin-up bars
because the letters are big and spelling doesn’t matter.
My instinct speaks in a voice that sounds like
my mother’s wrinkled brow
over my crib. (How I love you, Mom, your
gray eyes like the storms of myth,
and how I love my father,
steering us toward the perfectly
integrated calm of promise.)
My instinct tells me
I am right to see America
as a present from nostalgia.
Love America, says my instinct.
Love the wordless ways by which all Americans assemble meaning,
America is a Rose Bowl
of equally loving machineries
opposed on principle
and battling it out
despite loose bolts and general disrepair.
It keeps going anyway
propelled by ruptured stream pipes
that burn off skin
while leaving the muscles intact.
My instinct speaks to me, saying
the muscles! The muscles are what matters!
That and the bones are all we need! Forget the skins
and all we’ve said about them! We’re cured!
We’re aglow with blisters and blisters hold
pure fresh water! America is a vast reservoir
and we swim in it every minute!
My instinct says cruelty is a television turned off
and a radio that plays requests while planting trees.
My instinct says a warmer planet leads to more housing starts
year round! It says the pocket of my jeans
will brim with honey without my asking for such sweet treasure.
How can I refuse such a pleasing God?
Instinct, I love you! Let us listen to each other always,
only forgoing our real dialogue on national holidays.
You want me to race ahead of it all and I shall!
Experiment in progress, Instinct!
We are the new imagination of the new century! I am as blind
as instinct is deaf to the rejects who tell us we are aiming
for a cliff above Babylon! I grow my hair out into locks
of clean red shimmer, bloody ground forgotten in favor of Valhalla,
streaming out behind me as I fly the course!
Flip me over, I’m done!
Show me the river!
Show me an America I believe I already inhabit!
Show me I am right to trust my gut
that laps over my belt
with the fat of a stolen birthright,
one I would never sell without your OK!
Is this it? Is this the OK?
If it is, say it! Instinct,
tell me what to charge!
I await your instructions
with all my intubated breath!