Voice of America
by
Bob Riedel


I have heard the Voice of America
screaming in its sleep
only to wake and claim
that it never dreams
I have heard the Voice of America
crooning to its lover
"It's over
Do it again."
I have heard the Voice of America
an ashen whisper
a mad hissing
a croakthroat announcer
spewing bad vibes
a crackpot coloratura
yodelling "Dixie"
in a vacuum
cleaner

(the dog is shedding
the god is shedding
his grace on thee)
I have heard the Voice of America
clam up

but not for long
The Voice in its Voiceness
is compelled to give voice to
its opinions, its options,
its worries, its stresses,
its tastes and preferences,
its demands
I have heard the Voice of America
Howling
at a lunar eclipse,
coming through one hundred
drive-in movie theater speakers,
coming through one thousand
Japanese transistor radios,
encumbered with one million
star-spangled mannerisms
I have heard the Voice of America
speaking softly, softly
and carrying the biggest
fucking stick anyone
has ever seen
I have heard the Voice of America
at its elocution lessons
trying desperately to overcome
its hick diction
and half-crazed hillbilly
resonances
and it's a shame because you know
I have heard the Voice of America
shouting loud
proud and clear
through the body of a boy
from Memphis, and then
I have heard the Voice of America
not five minutes later
apologize, embarrassed,
to the lords of culture
for this unseemly outburst
and I have heard the Voice of America
snap and crackle, Pops
in Everykid's heart's high hopes
for boxtops boxtops boxtops
saved up mailed in big break sweepstakes
wishful thinker dream come true
a million to one is you ...
and later ...
that same Voice raspier, whining,
holding piss tickets
on the New Jersey state lottery
and
in the buzz of the Texas Purple Mosquito
and
in the hum of solar-powered apple reapers
and
in the roar of the hometeam crowd
at Kansas City Spitfire Roller Derby Action Tonight
and
lullabying its babies
and
tonguelashing its own rascal father
and
in the cars yes yes
always always
in the cars