On Being American

In this June 2, 2009 photo, the Statue of Liberty is seen in New York harbor. The crown is set to open July 4 after being closed since shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

I rode a train in Africa
through lands where once
the Fascists came
and people frowned and turned away
when ‘ere they learned my family name.

“No!  I am American!”
a smile , a laugh
a warm embrace
“We thought you were Italian!”.

I grabbed a cab in Egypt
a land where once
the English ruled;
the driver frowned
till I spoke to him

“No, I am American”
a smile, a laugh
a friendly face
“I thought you were a Britain man!”

In my youth I walked the streets
 Karachi and Lahore
Addis and Adana
Asmara and Mysore

where Americans were always welcome;
not so any more
since we’ve become the empire
forever waging war

Ore the world on nine eleven
were candles in the streets;
there was sympathy we squandered
deciding to abandon peace.

If we had spent my three score ten
feeding hungry women and men
think of the nation we might have been

if only we practiced what we preach
I know we’d have no enemies;
I know it.
I just know it.


About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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3 Responses to On Being American

  1. beetleypete says:

    Sums up the change in attitude since 1945 so well, Frank.
    ‘Once were Americans’, indeed.
    I met an American guy in London in 2011. He asked for directions, and had a Canadian flag patch on his backpack. I asked what part of Canada he was from. He told me, “I’m not, I’m an American, from Seattle. But I am not going to advertise that in Europe.”
    Changing times…
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is SO very true and beautifully done! I love it and alas, will we ever be seen any differently again? Me thinks not! Sigh!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. America’s reputation has surely fallen. Greatness isn’t just about power and might, but about goodness.

    Liked by 1 person

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