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America, the Beautiful

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What you see is what you get
Does not apply here.
In pictures
New York is Broadway and Upper East Side,
Flashing lights and hipsters in subways,
But they leave out
A lot.
Graffiti like cries of help.
Apartments, all the same, all stacked, circled,
It’s no way to live, nobody feeling special,
70-hour workweeks just to get by
Is not getting by at all.
Drive in, drive out,
It’s factories, and wires,
And twinkling lights that look like
stars and then
They’re part of mills, and smoke,
And stacks like volcanoes.
What a view to see
During the daily commute.
And I thought Connecticut
Was supposed to be green and farms and cows –
But it’s more of the same:
More bleak and towers
And gray fairy dust that doesn’t grant wishes.
It’s poor people living next to rich people
Who don’t even give ‘em a second look.
Can’t keep ignoring it,
The pollution, the asthma, the ruined lives.
Can’t pretend we don’t see it,
The ugliness, the machinery.
Can’t go about daily lives
When people are wishin’ they were dead.
Once upon a time I thought I was lucky,
But the pictures lie.
What you get is much, much worse.



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