A Day In The Life Of America
by Damon McLaughlin

America wakes up when first light noodles the trees.
When first light noodles the trees, finches, sparrows, and chickadees
sing I love new york I need new york
I love to need new yique you nork
through a wire America must pick up on the other end.
When America picks up on the other end, no one's there
but anyway America keeps right on talking
and this is how, for America, the day begins.

For America, the day begins with brushing and flossing
but without bathing. Only its breath is an ocean
of filth and America doesn't believe in mints because
it doesn't believe in mints. Because it doesn't believe in mints, sometimes
it leaves the house with a foul taste in its mouth.
The dentist has told America to brush and floss
at least twice daily, and at least twice daily
America thinks
What the fuck does the dentist know!?

America thinks oatmeal is The Breakfast of Champions.
Wheaties thinks it is The Breakfast of Champions.
But anyway America eats oatmeal with a tall glass of milk
and thinks
because Wheaties is The Breakfast of Champions
that it is The Champion of Breakfast.

As The Champion of Breakfast, America
leaves the house without a mint
but first it must feed the cat and walk the dog and water the plants.
But first it must dress and brush and floss.
First light must noodle the trees and America
must pick up on the other end.
There's always so much America must do
and anyway America does it.
And after America does it, it walks the quarter mile to the bus stop
to wait with the freaks for the bus.
At the bus stop, all freaks must wait
and, waiting, America is offered a mint.
But didn't it brush and floss and floss and brush?
But didn't it feed the cat and dog and plants?
But at the bus stop there's no room to breathe
and on the bus there's no place to sit.
On the bus there's no place to sit
What the fuck does the dentist know!?
and so America must stand
while the freaks spread around the seats like Jell-o
cooling into its mold. And so America
The Champion of Breakfast must stand.

There's always so much America must do.
Like before America can even ?
it must get Raoul and Tricia their coffee. America would like
to give Raoul a sock to the jaw and Tricia a slice of its ass, but instead
it must get Raoul and Tricia their coffee.
And Mike his doughnuts.
And Old Man Flannigan the files to be shred
and all this America must do before sitting down to work.
But before America can even sit down, it must clock in.
But before America can clock in, it must
fetch coffee and doughnuts and files to be shred
and, oh, if only America could shred files
it would give Raoul a sock to the jaw
and Tricia a slice of its ass. It would say
Tricia! The Champion of Breakfast has arrived!
and it would arrive and arrive and arrive
and Tricia would flail and flutter and faint like a file
and like a file she would shred. Oh
if only America could shred files.

But America does not shred files. Old Man Flannigan
shreds files. He's a shrewd file shredder.
And if America expects to move up in this world
it better learn from Old Man Flannigan these shrewd ways of shredding.
Many desire these shrewd Flannigan ways. Tricia desires.
Tricia thinks America should have shred her file when America had the chance.
She thinks her ass looks mighty good to Old Man Flannigan
and by noon the only shrewd thing Flannigan thinks
aside getting a piece of Tricia's ass
is America could never shred files, it can barely shred wheat.
Imagine that. America
The Champion of Breakfast can barely shred wheat.

Coffee fetcher, gofer to The Gladiators of Commerce, America
The Champion of Breakfast
wobbles into and out of its cube
like milk slides around, then slops over the brim of its bowl.
America finds its dreams have started to drip.
But what of America's dreams?
America dreams in hi-def wide-screen
at twenty-four gajillion frames per second. At twenty-four gajillion frames per second
horses, Harleys, and Hummers. Lean-to's, two-stories, and googolplex-apartments.
Plymouth Rock, North America, the World. The bathroom. Dreaming of the World
in the bathroom America rubs itself raw.

At five p.m. America logs out, clocks out, and walks out
thanking God it's payday, and God, like Flannigan,
grants America its fix. But like Flannigan and like God
America wants more. At Happy Hour it wants to party
with those who can handle their liquor and tell it how it is brother
and America shouts Everyone shaaave voice!
and buys everybody one. The bar as one
raises its sea-blue martini like a wave and roars
with laughter and applause and America
hears this applause and it hears the bar
roaring with laughter and it screams
I'm so drunk I can fly!

Word on the street is America can fly.
Word on the street is America is so drunk it's buying the next round.
Word on the street is gin sour w/ a lime twist, 3 kamikazes, 2 Hornsbys, a Sex on the Beach, as many
trays of Long Island Iced Tea as you barbacks can balance, triple shots of tequila, Jameson, Jack,
Jaegermeister, and Southern Comfort, and oh yeah a Flaming Nipple, and oh yeah a bottle of Scotch,
and, oh yeah -- didn't America tell you the pitcher of Bud Light is on the table, take it or leave it?
And, oh, didn't America tell you?
Oh, the things America says when it's drunk.
Oh, the things people hear.

Oh so happy now after hours and hours of happy hour
and even unhappy hour
America stumbles to the stop. For some reason
it's smoking a cigarette and two more
are wedged behind its ears. America takes one and lights it
tip-to-tip with the lit one now flicked toward the trashcan but not in it
going for distance. For some reason
America thinks it's hit a homer
and begins to giggle. It giggles and giggles. Silly America.
Doesn't it know those things'll kill ya?
Puff-puff, giggle-giggle. America loves it
when night begins.

When night begins, America's this close
to passing out in front of the tube like a raft
slowly deflated. Slowly deflated
America sinks into the couch and begins to dream. It floats
among clouds like frothed milk. It is an eagle. America
sinks into the couch and floats like an eagle.
But first it must feed the cat and walk the dog
and water the dragon. First it must belch and fart
and oh God it must water the dragon.
Always so much America must do and so often
America does it so well even the toilet
feels blessed to be sat on and squeezed.
Anyway, little by little, America deflates. Little by little
its dreams grow bigger and bigger.
In America there are dreams so big
they make America look small.
In America dreams are spaceships with little green men
inside. With little green men America dances and sings and zooms
through galaxies beyond its control. Oh, goodnight, America
voyaging through the stars, space traveler,
going where no nation has gone before. Goodnight,
America, goodnight.

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