America sees herself as an emblem for love and assurance. She wants to be all things to all people, a set of welcoming arms and land of opportunity. She wants to save the world, but first, she needs to save herself. Our United States, like a load of mixed laundry, must sometimes weather harsh temperatures and inhospitable spin cycles to come out better the other end.
Laundry and the Contemplation of America
At the neighborhood laundromat,
Heat greets me, along with a dryer’s unsettling rhythm.
On the wall, a silent TV screams violence—
A protest over the latest cultural schism.
America, in her staggering, swaggering beauty, has growing pains.
Gut-wrenching, teeth-clenching suffering. No buffering.
Against her backdrop of shocking beauty, a bloody foreground.
The TV flickers more poison and blues.
It’s worse than reality TV and fake news.
The washer punishes my clothes in hot water. Ta-ting, ta-ting, ta-ting.
Colors agitating this way and that,
Blending together in their community vat.
Dirty to fluff-and-fold, truth be told,
today’s laundry is making me question America.
What is She thinking? Where is She taking us?
Social insecurity, patterned bias, public unrest,
Will we stand the test of time? Of love? Of democracy?
Our United States is authentic yet blotted by hypocrisy.
I hope justice, mindfulness and kindness prevail,
That our collective humanity never fails,
To defeat this prejudice nemesis.
Before we were today’s America, we were immigrants and Natives and slaves, conquerors,
settlers, overseers, owned or borrowed.
America was born to uphold democracy, rights, liberty, opportunity, and equality,
Within and beyond her idealistic, inclusive polity.
Was it frivolity?
No. America is greater than its parts, its crises.
She is a tapestry weave
of people who believe
In something better, freer, free.
The spin cycle churns, like angst that burns,
Hope yearns in our souls for something better.
We need a more delicate cycle and rinse.
Tumble us dry,
Together to tether our future,
our unique blend of United States.