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  • Writer's pictureBrandan Gillespie

america, the beautiful (Guest Post)

Updated: Jul 10, 2021

Photo by Aaron Burden from Upsplash

Ceasar A. Cruz, a Mexican poet and gang violence prevention advocate, has been attributed to say, “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” One of my values in curating this writing blog is to share voices and perspectives different than mine that simultaneously challenge and inspire. My friend, Brandan, is a poet who does just that with his art. He was generous to share this poem, which channels raw emotion through the use of a familiar American song.

May you slow down and ruminate on the juxtaposition of perspectives he establishes in this short yet deliberate piece. Either viewpoint may stir up pain, strong feelings, or push back in you, as it did for me. Be a good steward of these reactions, just as Brandan is with his words. Follow his Instagram account here.



america the beautiful

america the beautiful//beauty’s in the eyes of the beholder

o beautiful for spacious skies//hideous history hidden in cramped huts

for amber waves of grain//the red clay in the cotton fields and the whites of your eyes

purple mountains majesty//the blue and purple bruises camouflaged by my black skin

above the fruited plain//ain't no bearing fruit in the valley of death

america, america//amerikkka, amerikkka

god shed his grace on thee//remind me why my captors deserve it (save me from this forsaken place)

and crown thy good with brotherhood//as we shackle those incompatible with the american dream

from sea to shining sea//from seed to sprouting seed

- brandan gillespie

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