NauenThen

From the vault IX: America the Most Beautiful

July 5, 2017

America the Most Beautiful


Your Brooklyn Bridge
   flung across some great water
      o worthy son of our Great Wall!

Your graffiti artists
   scribbling black jokes on the Mack trucks underground
      o worthy sons of Mayakafka!

Your buxom women
   their charms slung like rubles in a samovar
      worthy daughters of the blue suede shoes!

Your Odessa-esque cinema
   simpering toward the golden west
      a Hamlet of the steppes?

Your Empire State Building
   rising as high in brilliant stories
      as Anton Chekhov the master!

Your corn fed to the gals of the Midwest
   yellow-haired as the house of the rising sun
      where anarchists are kings just like our own Prince Kropotkin!

Your Lincoln Continental Divide dividing your two continents
   of white and not-white
      as the Urals divide our Europe from our Asia!

Your motels in Shreveport
   with paper-protected toilet & free ice
      o worthy of Pushkin’s faded tailcoat!

Your automobiles as powerful as dobrolyubovs
   spitting hot fire in a night dark as Stalin’s heart
      hurling Dostoevsky big as a man’s head!

Your cowboys like Mongols
   honky-tonking on the back of a horse
      such worthy sons of Genghis Khan!

Your fruited plains where homosexuals get a fair shake
   where a good horse is never a bad color
      & you don’t get splinters from wrestling timber wolves!

Your mysterious games – football the unwieldy, dwarf-tossing
   and the sadly beautiful ball of base
      o not unlike a caviar blini!

Your chariot slipping to a sweet home in Chicago
   swept from the bellies of lead
      o poet worthy of a Volga drowning!

Your psycho-killers angrier than any in Mother Russia
   mass-murdering more than we could hope to
      dressed in our drab fur hats!

O America most beautiful!
how I long to reach your golden shore
America that goes for the gold!
America, I love your gold-diggers with their hearts of gold
America such a land of gold braid and gold bricking
America I expect a gold star from you
America your Grand Central Station is a bowl for gold fish
America starring Goldilocks
as the First Lady of speak shows on television.
America where I can buy all the turnips I can eat in your supermarkets
all the shoes I can wear in your shoe-permarkets
America someday I will be your premier I will control fogtown
& listen to the slush pumps play your negro jazz
I will operate an oofus and talk your kafooster
I will ice your president and eat your hot tamales
America, so’s your old man!


by Magdalen Dubriski
translated by Elinor Nauen

Comments

  1. July 7, 2017 6:13 PM EDT
    From Russian??? Cool!
    - Dan MacLeod
  2. July 7, 2017 7:01 PM EDT
    it's not what you think....
    - Elinor Nauen