One Country, Two Tribes

A found poem from the article “One Country, Two Tribes” by Sabrina Tavernise published in The New York Times: Sunday, January 28, 2017

[Found poetry is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry (a literary equivalent of a collage) by making changes in spacing and lines, or by adding or deleting text, thus imparting new meaning].



A woman in beige pumps and pearls,
women wearing fleece and sensible shoes —
there is a lot of shouting.
One country, two tribes.

Different laws of gravity,
languages and truths.
More about who you are
than what you believe.
One country, two tribes.

“I’m excited about change.”
said Helene on Inauguration Day.
She wanted Fall River to get some of its old industry back —
fabric and upholstery.
The day of the women’s march,
Nan Nelson, a geologist from Syracuse, was holding a sign
“Women Geologists Rock”
If that Friday felt like a wedding,
that Saturday was a feisty funeral.
One country, two tribes.

“They think that I think the earth is flat,”
Harry, a retiree from Ham Lake Minnesota,
said of liberals.
Jonathan calls it the clash
between globalists and nationalists.
Forget about the factory. Invent something new.
Get over it.
One country, two tribes.

Monica Martinez works for a non-profit
that helps people with autism.
“He’s basically saying the lives
of Americans are more important
than the lives of people in Cambodia.
What do I say to my kids about that?”
“What do I say if they ask me, ‘Hey Mom,
what’s wrong with putting America first?’”
One country, two tribes.

What will happen here?
Emphasize our sameness?
No one seems to be in the mood.
“It’s just so hard to understand them.”
“I guess they just wanted change.”
“I don’t get it.”
“What are you fighting for?”
One country, two tribes.

“Here I am walking down the street
with my red dress and my flag shawl,
and people don’t even want to say hi.”
“What are we doing?”
“Are we going to take up arms against each other?”
One country, two tribes.


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