Braden Coucher

Rookie (December 10,1986 / Portland Oregon)

The American Flag, While We Lie - Poem by Braden Coucher

The American flag, while we lie
in red, sweaty sheets in morning
twilight flops from whim to whim
strung up on cold steel pole and tattered.
It’s all done up, dancing like
a cowboy who’s lost his father’s land
and now shuffles his plastic spurs
under boiling stage lights to the blues
at a dinner theater in Tucson
because there’s nothing else. My flag
is painted up like the fourteen year old whores
on Broadway street
who flounce from hip to pale stiletto
in imitation of their idols only there’s not
so much fat in their asses
to saunter the way my flag does in morning
wind when no one else is watching.
It’s tassels ring out against the erectile steel
clinging the way a broken shrimp boat
warrants its absent companions in fog
when slow dancing choice less
against the Atlantic shore.
It’s all painted up strait but drooping, endlessly
taking all that’s put into it, fraying
wearily like what you would call
a dead tired nigger if you’re white
and breathed a hundred years ago
in this country.

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, May 15, 2011

Poem Edited: Monday, May 16, 2011

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