On American Reality

(Or The Fiction We Tell Ourselves)

$300 and two suitcases each

sarees became skirts

kurtas became cufflinks

sure, there were struggles

insensitive questions, side comments

but we blend in

we become appealing

models, even

now every time we go back home

we bring along the spoils

of the New World

Because we are “the rich ones”

that’s the American Dream

$20 and a pack of cigarettes

a knee on the neck

a face pressed to the pavement

sure, the bill was fake

drug usage, perceived aggression

but his life is gone

he became a symbol

a martyr, even

now every time I talk about home

I realize it is spoiled with the legacy

of the Old World

rich with unjustified violence

that’s the American reality

built upon a contract

sworn to protect all

is the equality we claim


or just the fiction we tell ourselves

to avoid what’s actually


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