Enzo Silon Surin
Elegy for the American Dream
When it reads “this could be you”
it doesn’t mean you. You are not
the they or them of advertisements.
You are “the dead, arrayed in time”
of Pablo Neruda’s The Chosen Ones
—the butt of jokes and machetes—
you are not a feature in these stories.
You are the withheld sneeze, you
are the closed-mouthed cough, &
a cupped yawn, you are hearsay—
the practical omission of 1st editions
and reports—not even byline in this
scene of bread and wine, an nsec—
not the target of ads that say “if you lived
here, you’d be home now.” You are
a dog’s yelp in the back of a truck, soon
to be fairytaled as the Hosanna of hyena
ghosts. You are, at best, a funereal hymn,
which means your body is a gravesite and
the city in which you orbit is a mass grave,
to which not everyone in this ad is invited.
Enzo Silon Surin is a Haitian-born poet, playwright, educator, publisher and social advocate. He is the author of three collections of poetry, including When My Body Was A Clinched Fist (Black Lawrence Press, 2020), and the chapbook, A Letter of Resignation: An American Libretto (2017). He is the recipient of a Brother Thomas Fellowship from the Boston Foundation, a Denis Diderot [A-i-R] Grant as Artist-in-Residence at Chateau d’Orquevaux in France and a PEN New England Discovery Award. He teaches creative writing and literature at Bunker Hill Community College and is also Founding Editor and Publisher at Central Square Press.