American Dream

entry picture

I was travelling in America in October and while I was there I did this poem at Chicago's famous Uptown Poetry Slam, 'where slam began', which was a fab night, go there if you can! Well I had to didn't I? This poem is about my fascinations and contradictions about that great nation, partly why I was there. (The photo is me, there, honest, just taken on my rubbish mobile.)


American Dream

by Emma Decent 2009


Part 1 - homage


I love America.

I don’t know why

you’re a mysterious girl

for all your brashness.

Still, you’ve something.


I want to go to America and fly the flag,

fly it like a flying carpet,

and look into suburban gardens

and endless cornfields,

grubby parking lots

and abandoned drive-ins.


I wanna be Laura Ingalls.

Little House on the Prairie

in a covered wagon,

with Ma and Pa

and a bonnet on my head.


I wanna be a cowboy,

no, an Indian,

no, Bonnie and Clyde

with my partner in crime

sat at a dusty gas station 

in the middle of nowhere

and an old man in a battered hat looking at me

like in ‘Thelma and Louise’.

A battered dusty baseball cap

rolling down the road 

like tumbleweed in the wind

or the turbulence of monster trucks.

The American dream.



Part 2 - the real thing


There is a magic potion 

that can make you dream the American dream.


When I drink Coca-Cola

the sun comes out

and the children on my Lancashire street

stop swearing and screaming

and smile

and become full of colour and light.

Their teeth are white.


The grey streets of England clear of traffic

and people of every nation turn to each other

and hold each other’s hands.


Coke tastes like flying over a beautiful, benevolent land

in a hot air balloon.

It makes everything better.

All my friends look younger and more beautiful.

They like me better

and we have more fun.


Coca-Cola helps us to see all things the same,

and so, there is peace at last.


A Coke bottle makes a good weapon

an instrument of torture if used correctly.

Oh let me beat you over the head with this Coke bottle!

And I promise,


all will be well.



Part 3 - the end


Everything is big in America,

they have the biggest of everything.

Roads and prairies that go on forever

Skyscrapers and orange mountains.


And they have the biggest rubbish dump in the world,

have you heard?

Floating right there between California and Hawaii

Twice the size of Texas, yessir!


Fifty years of throwaway washed into the sea.

Where Coca-Cola bottle tops bump up against 

He-Man’s mighty plastic thigh.

Barbie head, cut mohican style

by a rebel girl, 1984.

Cigarette lighter

Pepsi bottle, water bottle

Shard of Bakelite radio, 1959.

And look!

A Macdonalds cup all the way from Japan!


The biggest snowglobe in the world,

the blue Pacific mixed with

a billion pieces of sea-worn plastic

every colour of the man-made world

of no more use, no more purpose

That will never settle.


I wish I could be famous enough to be made of plastic.

Celebrity moulded forever into a doll.

Tom Cruise, Farrah Fawcett, Sonny and Cher, Paris Hilton.

Then one day I could swim with all those bright stars in the Pacific too.

I wanna be a part of it!

An American dream come true. 

◄ International gigging?

The hares ►


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Thu 16th Dec 2010 18:16

Yes Emma, you've captured it well - the fascinations and contradictions...
I love part two, and the line 'I wish I could be famous enough to be made of plastic.'

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