This article is taken from Stand 226, 18(2) June - August 2020.

Nick Allen Making America Great Again
Making America Great Again: 1st floor, City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco

looking out onto Jack Kerouac Alley   I see a small hooded monk
working at the cans   hand braced against the wall she holds up
the too-big world around her   she pulls one   stamps this tube
until it flattens      the weight of her   the gravity-freighted wrack of her
rag-clad frame   against all that manufactured resistance   until
it becomes the bullet fired into the wall   the automobile in the
head-on wreck   the verifiable fact crashing into willful ignorance
and each one she is done with she carefully stows in a black plastic
sack      she already has three of these filled and tied off   a mornings
work      leaning and coughing   she wipes off her mouth with the back
of a hand   straightens her three coats across her hanger shoulders
hitches her two pairs of raggedy hole-in-the-ass trousers   shuffles in
boots that dont match and dont lace and dont fit and begins again
cerise hood raised   sun anxious on her back   relentless as debt

light careers down Columbus   it skids and crashes the corner
off the windows of the Vesuvio   blank and unconcerned with the daily
traversings and workgoings and homecomings of the world   all that
traffic and hustling through the shroud-cold Scooby-Doo frets
that roll like depression across this city that is so un-American
in its American-ness      it is everything they dreamed of those
dreamers   it is all the freedom and love and the freedom to love
whoever it is you want to love   it welcomes ...
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