An American Scene

downloadpdfPetulant young politicians

fresh from a strategy meeting

about how to spin the government shutdown

file past the continental breakfast table

at the local Motel 6

snapping shut their Samonsite attaché cases

wiping oat muffin crumbs from their seersucker suits

while across the street

at the local cemetery of dead dreams

within the sprawling assemblage of contentious corpses, casualties of a full metal civilization

the groundskeepers

fresh from a blue-plate special

are picking up refuse

with nails driven into tips of old rake handles

spearing with imperial vengeance

plastic wrappings and paper cups

agitated by irascible winds of change

chasing them across great sweeps of marble-studded grass

following them along the putrid streams of spongy gutters

as they spill into open graves

waiting for the next debt-ridden customer

(perhaps one of the politicians

at Motel 6

who forgot

his cholesterol medicine]


The men in baggy pants

clutching their rake handles

festooned with collapsed styrofoam cups

and Chuck E. Cheese and Happy Meal coupons

stare with empty eyes

at the abandoned chapel

across from the fenced-off precinct

that’s reserved for the granite vault of some corporate big shot


In front of the doors

chained shut by despair

a communion chalice sits

on a lawn chair

beside a coke can and bagel crust

filled with particles of lost hope

as well as dead leaves and dandelion fluff


In the distance someone plays a trumpet


Para citar este artículo: McLaren, P. (2013). An American Scene. Iberoamérica Social: revista-red de estudios sociales, I, pp.  20-21. Visto en:

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Doctor en Educación por la Universidad de Toronto, Canadá.

Docente Distinguido de Estudios Críticos, Universidad Chapman, Estados Unidos.