American Poem on Public Bus 92

Spring 2015, Uncategorized

by Sam Hutchings


America! I do not vaunt my love for you, I have what I have.

                                                                         -Walt Whitman


Apparently, I am a Goddamn Fool:
I set all my clocks 10 min premature-

Which must mean I am American-
As the only time I got is the time I
Make myself, & Lord, even that ain’t

Never enuf. & America’s history (a form of time)
Is kinda like a bus if you don’t think about it;

Hard plastic/ nooses/ dirty sneaker prints/ suspicion.
So I feign my boredom & nod w/ that dissonant
Hum, which is sorta like a hymn if you don’t think

About it either. I had an Uncle that would
Ad-lib drunk along w/ the Monkee’s sprightly jangle –

“Take the last train to Auschwitz…” – & so I know
All our history, no matter how hideous, can be
Distilled to song. For a minute I thought it was you

@ the wheel, Harriet Tubman, bruises cuffing your wrists,
Bandana corrallin’ a potent wound & bushel basket

Hair, but this ain’t no Railroad & that makes no sense. & this
Dude to my right looks like Whitman w/ a cigar & belly full of
Vaunted affections. Remember that 5th grade NYC field trip,

& J pissed on the Statue of Liberty? Man, if that ain’t
Patriotic, I donno what is (Cuz I know being truly

American means never holdin’ nuthin back). 
& who knows, maybe I am nuthin’ more than
Another fool God has damned, but so what;

History books & graveyards are glutted w/
Accurate wrist-watches/ jawbones/ & the wise.

I Am Alive & American; so I know my history is
Both this ink which stains my fingers &
This skin which I can never shed.


Sam Hutchings studies English and philosophy at Assumption College, Worcester, Mass. His influences are John Hodgen, Gregory Corso, Arthur Rimbaud, and Tony Hoagland.