two poems, by melanie browne

big america​

​​In America it’s go big or go home​
You either wear a mask with passion​
or seethe in anger​

at the very idea​
Anchors a weigh my boys​
or is it anger’s a way?​
You’re either staying or going​
You’re a dirty rat​
or a Yankee Doodle​

Ask Mr. James Cagney never a finer dancer​
Be like Cagney don’t cry on your​
mother’s bosom,​
Make your own way in the world​

Even if you get sea-sick,​
sick as an ugly dog​
emptied out and upside down​

In Big America​
That happens all the time​


​The old man​
lies on the bed,​
a great-grandfather​

I will be six soon​
and it is quiet​
in this room​
as I chew​ the ends
on my hair​
and wonder​
why you have​
a bag on your​

You are in​
a little white​
house and ​
the sheets​
on the bed​
are white​
and your skin​
is pale and​
the entire memory​
is surrounded in white​

There are phantoms​
in here,​
so I try to​
listen for birds​
but your presence ​
corrupts the bird-call,​
a hard man at ​
the end of his​
journey while I​
am still​
getting started​

I have so much​
childhood amnesia​
yet this memory​
like a pockmark​
that I pick at​
from time​
to time


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