Independence Day 2023

I put out the flag and read some poetry this morning: Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Dean Young, Claudia Rankine, Terrance Hayes. As battered and damaged as we are, I have to think there’s some slight hope for democratic ideals.

And I let Malcolm stay up late last night to watch the neighborhood’s homemade fireworks displays. Literal squeals of delight.

American flag against a clear blue sky

Here’s some Tony Hoagland that maybe captures a bit of the feeling.

That one night in the middle of the summer
when people move their chairs outside
and put their TVs on the porch
so the dark is full of murmuring blue lights.

We were drinking beer with the sound off,
watching the figures on the screen—
the bony blondes, the lean-jawed guys
who decorate the perfume and the cars—

the pretty ones
the merchandise is wearing this year.

The poem then takes a swerve into gun violence—and there’s more than enough of that today to not reduplicate it in verse. Happy 4th.

Independence Day 2023