I Hear America Cringing

I hear America cringing, the varied curses I hear,1

Those of accountants, each one singing, sorting through records, boring and repetitive, endless, kind of like this sentence, the glories of free verse,

The janitor singing his2, as he cleans the latrine, and scrapes the spills from off the floor,

The day-trader singing his, as he sees fortunes gleefully disappear before his eyes,

The box-maker singing his, as he makes the creases of the edges or closes the cardboard over its goods,

The emu-feeder singing his, as he tries not to lose any more fingers to the cunning bite of the vicious beast,3

The ant-farmer’s song, the fez-maker attaching the golden tassel to the top,

Each singing a unique melody of the joys he must endure,

The lyrics of which may not be repeated here.



1.Though this poem appears very similar to one written by the great American poet, Walt Whitman, a century ago, I feel it is important to stress that I am not Walt Whitman, nor do I usually steal the work and sole purpose of living of dead men for my own pointless purposes.

2.I used the pronoun “his” simply for convenience, I recognize that all of these jobs could be occupied by either males or females, except of course the box-maker, for obvious reasons.

3.The position of emu-feeding is a relatively new occupation due to the bird’s only recent arrival in the States.  These creatures have no apparent purpose, being big and ugly and not particularly good to eat, smaller than the average ostrich, but similar in size to the llama (of the Peruvian variety), they can not be ridden on due to their tendency to remorselessly peck at anyone, they would not make very appealing wallpaper, and upon being burned, would only heat a home for a short period of time.  The true value of an emu lies therefore in the equal understanding of its inherent worth, and others’ willingness to trade useful goods for this thing.  Emu-feeding is quite dangerous and may only be pursued by the thrill-seeker or psychotic zoo-keeper type, unless of course the feeder was able to form some kind of preternatural bond with the bird and recognize its motivations for its ill-tempered behavior.