I Don’t Know That America


3:29 am… the clock keeps ticking away
And sleep doesn’t seem to be approaching.
I’ve been itching for weeks,
For my escape from Los Angeles

Dreaming of driving the great highways of this country
Sleeping in my car
Cooking out of a cooler
Roughing it on the road.

All I can find are obstacles.
Warnings that it’s unsafe
Warnings that it’s illegal
Warnings that even minimal campgrounds
Now are expensive.

My dad once told me of a time where you could just
Pitch a tent on the side of the road.

I don’t know that America.

I’ve heard tales of travellers gleefully hitchhiking the major interstates
Mostly picked up by other hippies, on their way to music festivals or protests.

I don’t know that America.

I read of people successfully living totally off the grid
But as much as I would like to,

I don’t know that America.

So here, in the middle of the night, I grieve.
I mourn the loss of a land I never knew.
I mourn the death of the “Freedom” that the buzzing insects of social media never stop clamoring about.

I think they’ve been fed a lie.

And of course, I have to disclaim.
I have to pause and check my privelege.
That much I did learn from Facebook.
I realize I’m part of a very few elite to even be able to consider taking off for this life
That probably isn’t possible.
And even more pampered, having had the education to be able to write about it.

So many, here in my own country
Never get the chance to fathom breaking out of the 50 week work year
Or the 50 hour work week.
I don’t know that America, either.

But I’m learning.
And hopefully, I’m teaching.


(photo credit: Mike Boening Photography)

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