Ode on the Facelifting of the "statue" of Liberty

By Edward Dorn 1929–1999 Edward Dorn

A B H O R R E N C E S
4 July, 1986

America is inconceivable without drugs
and always has been. One of the first acts
was to dump the tea. The drug that furnished
the mansions of Virginia was tobacco,
a drug now in much disrepute.
Sassafras, a cure-all, is what they came for
and they dealt it by the bale altho it
was only a diaphoretic to make you perspire—
people were so simple in those days.
The Civil War saw the isolation of morphine
making amputation a pleasure and making
the block of wood between the teeth,
which was no drug, obsolete. Morphinism
was soon widespread among doctors and patients.
At this date interns, the reports tell us,
are among the premier drug ab/users
of said moralistic nation. “Rock” stars
(who notoriously “have” doctors)
consume drugs by the metric ton
even as they urge teenagers to Say No.
The undercurrent of American history
has been the running aches and pains
of the worn path to the door of the apothecary
to fetch cannabis and cocaine elixirs
by the gallon. It has been all prone
all seeking Florida, Ponce de León
was just the beginning of a statistical curve
whose only satisfaction would be total vertigo.
His eager search for youth has become our
frantic tilt with death and boredom,
in fact we are farming death in Florida
with far greater profit than we are
farming food in Iowa—elixirs are as multiform
as the life-style frauds we implore,
a cultural patchwork fit for a fool
in the only country in the world
with a shop called the Drug Store.

Edward Dorn, "Ode on the Facelifting of the ‘Statue’ of Liberty" from Abhorrences, published by Black Sparrow Books. Copyright © 1990 by Edward Dorn.  Reprinted by permission of the Edward Dorn Estate.

Source: Abhorrences (Bloodaxe Books, 1990)

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Poet Edward Dorn 1929–1999

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

Subjects History & Politics, Social Commentaries, Money & Economics, Popular Culture

 Edward  Dorn

Biography

Edward Dorn spent several years at Black Mountain College, a North Carolina school founded in 1933 as a liberal alternative for teachers and students seeking a creative educational environment. Breaking away from tradition, those affiliated with the school created art and literature that had a profound effect on American culture even after the college closed in 1956. Over the years numerous noteworthy artists and writers, . . .

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SUBJECT History & Politics, Social Commentaries, Money & Economics, Popular Culture

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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