Name: Date: Block: Section: Poetry “The American Dream

Section: Poetry
“The American Dream”
Performed By:
G. Yamazawa, Pages Matam, Clint Smith & Roscoe Burnems
The American dream is made of quicksand
The harder you fight, the further you're buried
Sinking below a prison complex that uses fourth grade reading scores to project the number of
cells needed ten years later
Someone explain the difference
Between convicts in the prisons
And victims of the system
Something is missing
The commissioner is using people as commission
See, capitalism is like a fisherman that keeps you coming back to the lake
Keep at least a quarter of the population hungry
Work to devour your check
And then tax half the fish you get
Not recognizing the pennies under our feet when we walk
Like Lincoln was just a stepping stone towards freedom
How ironic; we put his face on the only coin with colored skin
When white America did not prosper until it was colored in
The American dream
is my breath stretching over oceans trying so hard to not forget my homeland
The American dream
is me being black and poor in Virginia, confused by the term
The American dream
is being born wrapped into a star-spangled banner with a red hole in it
The American dream
is teaching in a school with more barricades than books
Building a wall when we're all brick layers for the same idea
But I've learnt the price for having an ocean on your tongue
Because even when you have all of your papers
The rock and hard place of a country that wants to cut you out
Will always win when it shoots
This is the fruit of our founding fathers
But after strawberry season, we go president-picking in November
It's the distraction that makes it hard for the masses to remember
That the Declaration of Independence is dependent on race and gender
But we all breathe the same
We must make dream-catchers of our hands
Weaving our fingers like baskets of prayers
Our actions are the only way our dreams will live
Whether it's poems, presidents or pain
Being content is like taking naps in your own grave
The American dream is struggling
The American struggle is dreaming
The struggling American dreams
When the security is a lot more political than it is social
Who you are will always clash with whom a society beckons of you
Wishing for white picket flesh
While living with section 8 bones
On the wasteland of the free
Home of the brave
Hand over your heart like a small pox blanket
The American dream is institution
It is immigrant experience
Or experience immigration
People are more concerned about my students being documented than they are about them being
From Arizona's SB 1070
To New York's Stop-and-Frisk
America, show us your papers
Who documented your dreams?
Because the work of our hands and how we decide to shape this world
is the deciding difference between drowning and dreaming
And when we finally reach the surface
That will be America's
Greatest nightmare
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