The American Thump

by Mike Dockins

It’s got a beat you can dance to, not like
the apple-polishing strum of Paraguay
or Saskatchewan’s lulling bassoons—

you might as well listen to prairie wheat
swaying. Teenagers undress
to the American thump. At the first

oomp-sha-la-la, the boy is finished.
By the first chorus, a baby is born.
The girl’s mother is thrilled, hits the hi-fi

and shimmies to her favorite thump.
By the middle-eight, the baby’s
at state college, seducing a drunk

sorority pledge to the latest thump.
It goes on like this until 300 million
thump through the freckled suburbs.

You can hear it from space, once
eerily silent. But eeriness is boring,
and besides, you can’t dance in space.

America, by god, is looking into this.

Mike Dockins lives in Decatur GA, where he teaches English at GA Perimeter College. He holds a BS from SUNY Brockport, an MFA from UMASS Amherst, and a PhD from GA State University. His poems have appeared in Crazyhorse, The Gettysburg Review, Indiana Review, Quarterly West, and elsewhere, and they have been reprinted on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and in the 2007 edition of The Best American Poetry. His critically-acclaimed first book, Slouching in the Path of a Comet (Sage Hill Press, 2007) is currently approaching a third printing. Fame For Zoe, the latest album from Mike’s acoustic-pop band Clop, is available on iTunes.

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