Fall of America (“Fabled Damned of Nations”)

Protester carries a U.S. flag upside down, a sign of distress, next to a burning building in Minneapolis, May 28, 2020 – photo for AP by Julio Cortez

Poet as Prophet, Poet as Witness.  From Allen ‘s acceptance speech for the 1974 National Book Award  (reprinted in the volume Deliberate Prose):

“Poem book Fall of America is time capsule of personal national consciousness during American war-decay recorded 1965 to 1971.  It includes one prophetic fragment, written on speakers platform of May 9, 1970 Washington DC Peace Protest Mobilization:

“White sunshine on sweating skulls/Washington’s Monument pyramided high granite clouds/over a soul mass, children screaming in their brains on quiet grass/(black man strapped hanging in blue denims from an earth cross) -/ Soul brightness under blue sky/ Assembled before White House filled with mustached Germans/ and police buttons, army telephones, CIA Buzzers, FBI bugs/Secret Service walkie-talkies, Intercom Squawkers to Narco/Fuzz and Florida Mafia Real Estate Speculators./One hundred thousand bodies naked before an Iron Robot/Nixon’s brain Presidential cranium case spying thru binoculars/from the Paranoia Smog Factory’s East Wing.”

Book here honored with public prize, best proclaim further prophetic foreboding that our United States is now the “fabled damned” of nations” foretold by Walt Whitman a hundred years ago.  The materialist brutality we have forced on ourselves and world is irrevocably visible in dictatorships our government has established…”

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