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by Ingrid Keriotis
​©2020 Donna Rydberg                                                                                                      
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Ingrid Keriotis’s first book of poetry, It Started with the Wild Horses, was published in 2019 by Finishing Line Press. Ingrid received her MFA in Creative Writing from Eastern Washington University and currently lives in Northern California where she teaches English at Sierra College. When it comes to writing poetry, she believes in Richard Hugo’s advice: “You owe reality nothing and the truth about your feelings everything.”
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Born in the U.S.A., 2020


When I was young I thought ‘Born in the U.S.A’
was about a greatness I did not believe in 
and did not want to hear about. 

To me, it meant arms for hostages
how we gave the presidency to a man
who called our Cesar Chavez and his strikers ‘barbarians,’
a man who opened up the hospitals, 
let the mentally ill go. 

But the’80s are over
and I’ve grown up enough to really listen
to a song that is more than its chorus--
a song about Vietnam
and who we really are 
amidst urban decay.

When the song is over, today’s news:
a 90-year-old woman
wasn’t putting out her garbage can. 
When you have so little food,
there isn’t much to throw away.

Born in the U.S.A.
we’re in our masks or not, trapped inside 
our towns and walls, or not
at the foodbank, 
waiting for the unemployment check, 
or in our private jet.

Americans 
are ‘burning down the road . . .
Nowhere to run ain’t got nowhere to go’
and the garbage man gets out of his truck
to rap on an old woman’s door
in the richest country in the world.




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