Home of the Blues


I’d like to be like Whitman & not let anger
resentment despair my eye from Beauty
born of itself
burning with light
streaming from my pen
Odes not only to Love
but Love made of Love
Permeated with & emanating total pure Love
The descriptive rolling road blistering jewels
reflecting oceans of understanding
faces, subtle & exquisite

Lambent and prism splashed
Purer than gold
Purer than the waters of Baptism
as pure as dirt
as fire
as willing sweat
Pure as the water from the skies
emptying through your eyes

Ah, can’t escape the shameful disastrous hypocrisy
of religions, governments, political movements
Knowing great ideas don’t fail, people do
Do I need a God to overcome
we are imperfect
That our ideas are better than us?
After all this religious fervor of millennia
is this world less murderous
more just, less dangerous?

I would put this knowledge to bed
What good has it done me? Or anyone else?
I’d rather be into art for its own sake
A believer in the positivity of Random Creation
whirling in a dervish of Illusion
I’d rather be Alfred E. Neumann
A what me worry it’s all good, charmer
I’d rather be a six pack a night, bills paid
Rather be University literary magazine credentialed
perfect smoking my pipe, impressing youth
with arcane knowing, go on vacation
to islands in the sun
I’d rather be someone who covertly alludes to problems
in coded and coddled language, than to call it
from the bottom, the solar plexus of defiance
But I can’t, don’t ask why, I’ve not only got a right
to sing these blues, but I’ve an obligation

Oscillating in a maelstrom of unpredictable winds
unborn of the sun
So from that solar plexus of defiance
the uncontrollable plaint, blues of a darker color
I’ve got a right to spit them out unchewed

I woke up this morning hardly knew which way to turn
It was dark it was cold I was not frozen
It must be what I’ve chosen
Got to earn, the times are not generous
maybe some people will be
If believing would help if I believed it would help me
I’d believe
God I don’t believe you’re listening, pretty sure you
don’t exist, but if you are listening
I could use a little help
I am no longer a man, I’m no longer Whitmanic
I’m a contradiction from Hell just like America
A Deist calling on God? I got the Blues
All the beneficial bounty, all the music
& all the deception & cruel crimes
Backed by guns of money & pain
& worse
America the Contradiction
America Home of the Blues


Andy Clausen is the author of fifteen books of poetry, including his latest, Home of the Blues: More Selected Poems, where this title poem originally appeared. Previous titles have included: 40th Century Man, Festival of Squares, Without Doubt, and The Iron Curtain of Love. Along with Eliot Katz, Clausen was a coeditor of Poems for the Nation, a volume of political poems compiled by the late poet, Allen Ginsberg. Clausen is a construction worker and teaches poetry in New York public schools.


Latest Issue

2024: Vol. 23, No. 1

Latest Issue

2024: Vol. 23, No. 1

By Melvyn Dubofsky: Does Organized Labor Have A Future?

By Bill Fletcher, Jr: Now What? Labor Unions and the Inevitability of Class Struggle

By Michael Hirsch: So Why don’t we have better unions?

By Rand Wilson , Steve Early: Is It Time For Just Cause?

By Douglas Kellner: The Sandy Hook Slaughter and Copy Cat Killers in a Media Celebrity Society: Analyses and Plans for Action

By Lawrence Davidson: Israel’s 2013 Elections

By Kevin Anderson: Resistance versus Emancipation: Foucault, Marcuse, Marx, and the Present Moment

By Spencer J. Pack: How the Right Got Adam Smith Wrong on the Eve of Environmental (and hence Economic) Catastrophe

By Axel Fair-Schulz: A “Wandering Jew:” Stefan Heym’s Humanist Socialism

By Alicia Ostriker: Ghazal: America the Beautiful

By Andy Clausen: Home of the Blues

By Eliot Katz: Poem Written During and After Hurricane Sandy

By Leonard Quart: Aging in Films and Amour

By John G. Rodwan, Jr: Kurt Vonnegut among His Admirers

By Peter N. Kirstein: Oliver Stone’s America

By Brian Trench: Ben Goldacre: Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Misled Doctors and Harm Patients (Faber and Faber, 2013)

By Warren Leming: Kevin Avery, Everything is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson (Fantagraphics Books, 2011)

By Kurt Jacobsen: Lost and Found Books: Nelson Algren’s Nonconformity: Writing on Writing (New York: Seven Stories Press, 1998)