Poem by Susan Deer Cloud

Everything in America

I never wake soon enough for morning TV,
yet on Inauguration Day I rise at dawn
in this brutal winter of bleak snows,
thermometers bleeding below
the zero line – lost jobs, dreams –
people’s souls plunging into deep freeze.

I rub away sleep gook, switch on
boob tube, surf my five basic channels,
pause at a journalist asking some
nameless blond of a certain age
about herself and others enthroned
in the best Inaugural seats –

be-diamonded blond wafting
wealth through undusted screen
I imagine finger-painting
pictographs across. The journalist
explains why rich donors gave
to our visionary President’s campaign,

the word donors making me
flash on sperm & egg donors
and the American way of money
artificially inseminating emptiness
with “yes, we can” get away with it
greed. But so hungry am I

to embrace January 20, 2009,
as a day of real change, renewed hope,
that I’ll even believe the fake blond
with face changed by plastic surgery,
skin sags hoping for born again youth,
is not just another dumb blond joke,

until smug in snug furs she chirps
she has history’s ringside perch because
“Everything in America is about money.
You know that.” My own uncensored face
knows its lines of poetry can’t afford
more plastic delusions and bad jokes.

Artwork © DL Polonsky
Artwork © DL Polonsky


Susan Deer Cloud, a mixed lineage Catskill Mountain Indian, prides herself on being “a nasty woman” who has never had plastic surgery. She has received many honors, including a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, two New York State Foundation for the Arts Poetry Fellowships, and an Elizabeth George Foundation Grant. Published in numerous literary journals and anthologies, Deer Cloud’s most recent books are Before Language, Hunger Moon and Fox Mountain.

DL Polonsky is a Boston area artist, writer, and filmmaker. His caricatures have appeared in The Boston Herald and His written work includes the children’s book The Letter Bandits from T.B.W. Books.


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