A BREAK-UP LETTER TO AMERICA

dear America,

you are everything I’ve ever known
and that’s the problem.

i feel
saturated by you
consumed by you
i feel as though
you’ve branded your name
on my ass.

you’re blurring
my vision.

you
are gorgeous.
really you are.
your desert dry skin.
your baltimore scars.
the way you refuse
to let me be on top
but you are the crazy girl
you don’t know how to say no
to anything
especially yourself
and especially me.

it’s weird
the way you tell me
about your unhealthy lifestyle
and that you don’t care
that you’re happy this way
that life is all about
doing what you want to do.

America
it scares me how good you are
at firing a gun.

America
it’s funny the way you pretend
to dig through your purse
for your money
when the check comes at dinner.

i don’t think you realize
i am enamoured by you
really i am
it’s been years and years
and i am still in lust with you
thick lust
deep lust
the kind of lust
that i don’t even know
if love is buried beneath it.

i’ll never forget
that little box in your room
where you keep those vintage photographs
of native Americans
and old money
and your rosary.

it seemed to me
that every night before you went to bed
you’d apologize endlessly
for your sins that you still
just keep on committing.
am i in love with you
because you make me feel
like a better person by comparison?

i don’t know
if i can continue to be with you.

remember the ferris wheel
at coney island?
we passed cotton candy
between each other’s mouths
like we were forcing our opinions
down each other’s throats.
remember the way we felt
when we walked through ellis island?
we were so small all of a sudden.
we were so lost in the same dream
together.

do you remember
watching the fireworks
because we were too impatient
to wait for the bombs?
do you remember the time
we got drunk in Vietnam
and Afghanistan and Iraq?

is that all we do together?
get drunk
get into fights
and get kicked out of bars?
you never pay your tab
you just leave your card
and cancel it the next day.

do you realize, America,
that i have a box of i.o.u.’s
from you?

do you realize, America,
that you called Joe Frazier
the n word when he wasn’t in the ring
and a God
when he had your flag on his shoulders?

do you realize, America,
that i’m only with you
until i find someone new
if there is anyone new?

i can’t do this anymore.
we just sit on your dirty apartment floor
and watch the roaches crawl around
on the television.
we’ve got too many shows recorded
and not enough hours in the day
to watch them all.

you’re exhausting, America.

you’re annoying, America.

you’re sexy as hell, America.

you know how to drive
a corvette through the mountains
at ninety miles per hour
with your red high heel
pressed against the accelerator
and lana del rey
playing from the tip of your cigarette
and into the radio.

you drive a stick shift
like manifest destiny.

your sirens
are red white and blue.
your arenas
are the size of God’s pockets.

your phone
is dead half the time.
i’m writing this letter to you
because i’m afraid
that if i break up with you in person
you’ll threaten
to kill yourself.

your videos
are viral, America.

your impressionable little sister
dresses just like you.
i remembered when i realized
i don’t love you anymore.

we were sitting on a swing
on your front porch
in alabama
and you were singing
but all i could hear
was lies in your words
the gospel was gone
the folk wind had been
knocked out of you.

i need to make something clear.
breaking up with you
might be the hardest thing
i’ve ever have to do.
i love you to death.
i crossed out mom’s name
on the heart tattoo
on my bicep
and put yours in its place.

you kiss me
like we’re on a hill
in the fifties
with the top down
king and queen
of suburbia
teenagers
with chewing gum
and a yawn
that is just an excuse
for me to put my arm
on your shoulder.

you’ve taught me
how to dream,
America
but we always see
the horror movies
in theaters
and they give me
nightmares.

night terrors
of los angeles riots
and sandusky
and columbine
and politicians
snorting coke
laughing
like hyenas
i wake up
in sweats.

and it’s strange
because then you comfort me
you wipe my forehead off
with the bill of rights
and you sing to me
“oh lord
won’t you buy me
a mercedes benz.”
and you’ve got
just the right amount
of makeup on your face
and i can see driving through
nowhere between western cities
in the black of your eyes
i can see me smiling
with a quarter tank of gas
hoping i make it to salida
before i run out of
fuel.

i can see gasoline
in the black of your eyes
spread out
over the ocean
like a blaze of glory
like a belligerent night;
like one of our one thousand
belligerent nights.

you smell like
chanel perfume
you shouldn’t
it’s french
but you just do
whatever you want to
don’t you?

you make me smile
like a god damn
happy meal.

what am i saying?
i’m breaking
up with you.
i’m not in love with you
anymore.

yes i am.

oh god
you must think i’m crazy
go ahead
throw me in your white padded room
tell me
what you want me to be
i’ll be
whatever you want me to be
because you have always been
what i wanted you to be.

we all ran away
from home at some point.
some of us made it
to the bus stop down the street.
the light of the world.
but you ran away
and you never looked back
you rode bareback
to the end of it all
to the last frontier
where we met
in San Francisco
because we couldn’t afford
hawaii
and we kissed
sitting down
at the top of lombard street
and you promised me
that you would never forget me
you promised me
that you would try your best.

this is not an easy breakup.
half of my underwear are at your house.
my c.d. collection is tucked beneath your bed.
my trust is buried
in your backyard.

what are we going to do
with our baby?

you’re not going to
try to collect the money
you offered to spend on me
are you?
are you that person,
America?

okay.

okay,
i’m sorry.

pull the trigger.

i’m leaving you,
America.

i want my favorite
t-shirt back.
the one with
the graphic
of bruce springsteen’s
ass in demin jeans
on it.

the one i wore
when we stayed up all night
laying down on your parent’s roof
watching the fireworks
watching the planes fly by
talking about our dreams
and how we had
to keep each other accountable
for them.

i’m leaving you,
America.

probably for a girl
who looks just like
you.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013

READ “THAT GOOD OLD-FASHIONED DUBSTEP”

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Author: brice maiurro

Denver poet. I like spaghettios.

19 thoughts on “A BREAK-UP LETTER TO AMERICA”

  1. Hi Mr Brice Maiurro,

    Wow! What a well-written, thoughtful (or rather, thought-provoking) and welcoming piece of poem you have here for us! It is a tour de force, unfurled with assured confidence and multipronged protest. SoundEagle feels very much at home in your FLASHLIGHT CITY BLUES with its special blend of text, poetry and musings dispensing your idiomatic wisdom and occasionally wardward creativities.

    Bravo and well done! It seems that your days of sleeping and courting with America are coming to an end, if not well (boiling) over . . . .

    1. That’s exactly what I was thinking. It reminds me so much of “America” but crossed with “Howl.”
      It’s one of those poems that leaves me banging my head on my desk asking myself, “Why can’t I write like that?”

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