You Bring Out the American In Me

8 May

[Yet another take on the fabulous original. ]

You bring out the American in me.
roll of quarters from CVS
and chai tea in me.
The freeways,
I’ll take it to go,
gas station not
petrol pump
in me.

You’re the one
who sets the twang free,
it’s okay to skip the ts
and ripple the rs in me.
The screaming Go Yankees
the 7th and 17th
the Jewish rye bread
rise like a rollercoaster
on a Six Flags trip
over Thanksgiving weekend.

You bring out the American in me.
The cranberry sauce
and the J. Crew in me.
The knee high boots
and the TGIF in me.
no white shoes after
Labor Day in me.
The Fall colors
Priceline deals
and Dunkin Donuts in me.

The Staples,
the Kinkos
the Office Max in me.

Yes you do, yes you do.

You unravel the miles in me.
extra large tub of popcorn
in me.
The materialist,
misplaced philanthropist,
softened first-worlder in me.
Like 5-foot walls of Syracuse snow.

You bring out the American in me.
alto cinco and
hola chica in me.
‘sup dude and how you doin’
in me.
And I ache for the trees to shed on the Schuylkill
so I can look across at identical slatted porches
with overalls and Ford pick-ups on tidy squares of lawn.

I want to drive up 81 North
take exit 18
to University Ave.
look up the old red door
that meant heat and home
and the overwhelming urge to pee.

You bring out the American in me.
The Judith Lane and Halloween
in me,
the Salvation Army and free microwaves
and sofas left on the street
in me.

I am tenacity.
I am duplicity.
cling to you
with teeth of salt,
and blood of hepatitis-proof veins.
arm flares red
at hidden TB
that my billion at home
have endowed me.

You bring out the American in me.
The panic attacks and
depression in me,
the love of weekends
fear of vulnerability
and addiction to sitcoms in me.
The Philadelphia skyline,
Victoria’s Secret super-sales,
Bath & Body Works in me.

I am torn
detached from hip and limb
praying at the altar of Starbucks deities
and only bankruptcy keeps me
from you
gently undulating Stars and Stripes.

Only yours, only you.
Love the way an immigrant loves.
The way
only a girl in her twenties can surrender
before the emotion evanesces
into post-drizzle mists
and my Indian birth
reclaims me.

44 Responses to “You Bring Out the American In Me”

  1. wordjunkie May 8, 2009 at 8:27 am #

    Better than the original, girl!!
    And those last lines gave me goosebumps.

  2. M.... May 8, 2009 at 8:48 am #

    Ah! You talk of the life I am leading rite now !

  3. D May 8, 2009 at 11:00 am #

    I did not think I could love any take on the original, but you’re just as fabulous! OJ, this time, you’ve beaten yourself! Am I impressed!

  4. D May 8, 2009 at 11:01 am #

    I’ve posted the original on my FB profile because it’s so me. Can I post the link to this too for my friends who would relate to it?

  5. Orange Jammies May 8, 2009 at 11:30 am #

    wordjunkie: Now all I’m embarrassed. 😳

    M: I know it, I know it.

    D: Sure, hon. You relate to being Mexican, though? 😕

  6. dipali May 8, 2009 at 2:14 pm #

    Tres awesome, OJ.
    Loved it, loved it, love it!

    You must’ve read Inkslinger’s version-

  7. Mom Gone Mad May 8, 2009 at 2:40 pm #

    There is probably a more sophisticated way to say this. Its feckin’ brilliant, OJ!

    I’m with WJ here. You got the original beat.

  8. D May 8, 2009 at 5:19 pm #

    Nope, got it wrong. I was talking about Inkslinger’s take on it… I missed the fact that it’s actually a take on the original.

  9. Sharanya Manivannan May 8, 2009 at 5:26 pm #

    I love it!

  10. brown girls May 8, 2009 at 5:56 pm #

    Ah, this made me come out of my (self imposed) retirement. ’tis lovely OJ! ~sniff~

  11. sukanya May 8, 2009 at 8:56 pm #

    wow…just wow!!! this is fantafuckingbulous!

  12. Prashanti May 8, 2009 at 8:57 pm #

    Its waay better than the original, Me thinks !!!!! The last lines, aah too good 🙂

  13. sukanya May 8, 2009 at 11:04 pm #

    i read it again and couldnt stop myself from commenting again. …OJ-you are a genius!

  14. Gigi May 9, 2009 at 1:39 am #

    Thanks for visiting my blog. And the the J. Crew Jackets ( especially the Michelle Obama line) in me.

  15. maidinmalaysia May 9, 2009 at 11:29 am #

    they should give you a green card for this

  16. She talks like June May 9, 2009 at 12:21 pm #

    I wish I could comment with something more articulate. But make do with a ‘I loved it” for now, will you?

    orange jammies, bloggers like you are killing my will to blog. I come to ur blog get all high on some good reading and go back to mine and see a cloud of words like fart, phek, whatever, stuff, poop 😦

  17. Orange Jammies May 9, 2009 at 3:42 pm #

    dipali: Yes, I do believe I’d read it a while ago. 🙂

    Mom Gone Mad: Now, now. I shall not be compared to Sandra Cisneros. 😳

    D: Ah, okay.

    Sharanya: Thanks, hon.

    brown girls: Then I’m glad I scribbled this. 🙂

    sukanya: Thanks, Sukanya. It came from a deeply personal space and was triggered off rather suddenly by a visit from someone I’d never met.

    Prashanti: The original is incomparable. 🙂

    Gigi: I actually haven’t, hon. But will do.

    maidinmalaysia: Now that‘s an idea. 😉 They almost did, actually. I left before processing began. Yes, I’m that kind of crazy. No, I don’t regret it one bit.

    She talks like June: Erm…I’m sorry? 😦

  18. CrazyDiamond May 9, 2009 at 9:55 pm #

    Wow, I didn’t realise there was an original till I read the comments. Was a bit confused but it’s making sense now.



  19. Manju May 10, 2009 at 12:21 pm #

    Back after long …to read a great piece of writing, without exaggeration i think i have been missing out a lot by not visiting as often as I used to.

  20. emaan May 10, 2009 at 11:07 pm #

    brillianto !!
    after reading my dad’s scary poetry, this was mighty good 🙂

  21. Nino's Mum May 11, 2009 at 1:17 pm #

    fantastic. Loved the last two stanzas. And what did the Boy have to say to this?

  22. iz May 12, 2009 at 1:41 pm #

    oooh yummy yummy!

  23. Orange Jammies May 12, 2009 at 2:02 pm #

    CrazyDiamond: It’s right there, at the beginning of my post.

    Manju: We so need to catch up, Manjukins. Big hug. And sending one over to Mina too. Could you pass it on, please?

    emaan: 🙂 I like your name!

    Nino’s Mum: He promised to give me a happy life in India. 😉

    iz: Hello, stranger. 😀 You’re back and I’m happy.

  24. Anindita May 13, 2009 at 10:51 am #

    Wow! That’s fantastic, OJ girl! I’m speechless.

  25. Orange Jammies May 13, 2009 at 9:37 pm #

    Anindita: Aww, thanks Anu! 😳

  26. momstir May 14, 2009 at 8:29 pm #

    My first time here. This is brilliant, OJ!

  27. Orange Jammies May 15, 2009 at 12:15 am #

    momstir: Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  28. Sands May 15, 2009 at 3:17 am #

    First time here. This was a lovely perspective 🙂

  29. Orange Jammies May 16, 2009 at 4:45 pm #

    Sands: Welcome! And thank you. 🙂

  30. RM May 18, 2009 at 11:51 am #

    WoW! and Sigh. 9 months since I moved back and you bring out the urge to go back to my American self, in me. Fantastic take on the original. I love the TB skin test best 🙂 Can soooo relate.

  31. Orange Jammies May 19, 2009 at 6:20 pm #

    RM: Whoa, that’s recent. How are you coping with the pangs of separation?

  32. ... May 21, 2009 at 5:06 pm #

    Oh well! You already have a lot of ‘we-love-this-post. better-than-the-original one-comments’. Here’s another one.. *I simply.absolutely.totally. luuuvveeed it*

  33. Orange Jammies May 21, 2009 at 9:19 pm #

    … : Thank you. Now why would you want to be addressed as three dots? 😕

  34. RM May 22, 2009 at 10:54 pm #

    OJ: Its all right. Ya know, the reasons for which I moved back are working out.. so I am happy. But I cannot deny the wistfulness that creeps up on me every now and then.

  35. Sue May 23, 2009 at 3:04 pm #

    Awesome. As yet another misplaced person telling herself that misplaced is just another word for cosmopolitan and as well know, cosmopolitan is the best you could be, I do yearn for my other home.

    Just now, I yearn tragically. :(( Lovely pome, Jam.

  36. ... May 24, 2009 at 1:27 pm #

    ‘coz I am still thinking of a pseudo bloggie name!! Till then ‘three-dots’ works just fine!!

  37. Orange Jammies May 24, 2009 at 5:33 pm #

    RM: 🙂 That’s good to hear. And yes, wistfulness has a way of catching you unawares, doesn’t it?

    Sue: And where’s that other home, Sue? I’m sorry the yearning’s so strong. Hugs.

    …: Ah, well then. Take your time, O Person of the Three Dots!

  38. Sue May 25, 2009 at 12:03 pm #

    Me? I lived out some of my life in Hyd, Vizag and my folks are still in Madras. I love the warm South. 🙂

  39. kbpm June 1, 2009 at 9:32 pm #

    starbucks!!!!!!!!! brought me back a little packet full, wondering whether to drink it or cherish it.

  40. Orange Jammies June 2, 2009 at 2:10 pm #

    Sue: Me too. It’s always my preferred part of the country, every chance I get.

    kpbm: Tell me you’re in Bombay. I’ll see you in an hour.

  41. ameet August 6, 2009 at 6:06 pm #

    Spectacular stuff OJ, I read it twice – it hath layers!!!

  42. Orange Jammies August 7, 2009 at 3:37 pm #

    ameet: Thanks, love. Sending bear hugs your way.


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