Traveling through America, in search of the Shrine
you know the one, mister, the place that encapsulates
our nation’s fears, dreams, triumphs + loathing –
some say the shrine is a shopping mall
Mother Church of Consumerism
but you know better
I love my city, the city of Philadelphia
I grew up outside your limits, near you in the ‘burbs
amazed by your skyscrapers, watching from
grandma’s steps in the shadow of St. Monica’s –
you aren’t always pretty, but you’re a city
with pride and spunk, attitude and funk,
the engine of our region with a legion of fans –
behind the cheesesteaks and Rocky Balboa,
we know how much heart you have and
even if we speak rough and act tough,
underneath this grime and slime,
you have a whole lotta love inside.
(Photo of a mural in Philly from the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance)
What terror hides behind manicured grass
and lush flower beds? Outside the office complex,
the manager scolds us for cigarette smoking.
Months later, his cold stare is in a newspaper for
unspeakable crime. Am I too naïve to think the masks
we wear are true windows into our souls?
(Photo by John Noonan on Unsplash)
“What happens in this family is not what
happens in the real world,” the stern voice said,
echoing from the cellphone I heard while walking
along the gravel-patched road.
Rows of cars jammed at traffic lights
grind over asphalt – horns bleat like sheep
we’re all sheep, choking on exhaust.
A jagged moon is cracked and
people gather on the hill –
white teens in Metallica shirts
and a Mustang in the dusty field.
They want dirt and blood.