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poetry This is the American Dream, and What of Joe

Colorado poet Jared Smith raises the question of what the American Dream means in the ordinary lifetime of an ordinary person.

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This is the American Dream, and What of Joe

By Jared Smith

Big Joe hauls the groceries in

from the backseat of a beat-up Dodge each week

with never one sick week in his life, but

he sits at a desk six days of seven turning numbers

forty years after Romantic Poetry at Harvard

and teaching Linguistics at Charlotte and UIC

and he remembers the phyla of each green flower

he sees in his memory as he walks the fields

in memory it is getting harder to breathe and

he stops to catch his breath again and again

with each week he is immortal until he dies.

This is the American Dream,

and where are all the professors?

What magic do they breathe into their lungs

where capitalism fills the desert canyons.

Surely it is something potent, powerful,

and invisible as the oxygen that fills our lungs

and the starlight that fills the night lights their pipes.

This is the American Dream, and what of Big Joe

and all his studies, degrees and hours now gone.

Jared Smith is the author of 14 volumes of poetry, and his work has appeared in hundreds of journals and anthologies in this country, Canada, Mexico, the U.K., and China. He has served on the Editorial Boards of Home Planet News; The New York Quarterly; The Pedestal Magazine; and Turtle Island Quarterly, as well as on the Boards of literary and arts non-profits in New York, Illinois, and Colorado. He is listed in The Colorado Encyclopedia; Poets & Writers; Colorado Poets Center; Who’s Who in America; and other reference sources.