H e a r t   S o n s   &   H e a r t   D a u g h t e r s   of   A l l e n   G i n s b e r g

N a p a l m   H e a l t h   S p a :   R e p o r t   2 0 1 4 :   A r c h i v e s   E d i t i o n






Made You Mine America



in the poems of Walt Whitman

Langston Hughes

Allen Ginsberg

the songs of Woody Guthrie

and Joan Baez

I made you mine

rushing to you at night and daybreak

by air and water––

on the land

getting a social security number

in the year nineteen hundred seventy

working the grave yard shift for ITT

a teenager four levels below the ground

a cashier in a three by eight booth

under the Denver Hilton Hotel

sheltering derelicts

who slept on beds of cardboard and newspaper

pillows of shoes

my young body luring

late night prostitutes and transvestites

hip to my accent

the midnight thief pouring mace in my eyes

escaping up the long ramp

passing through barbed wires

and waiting for hours in the INS lobbies

facing grouchy secretaries

overwhelmed by the languages

they can't speak

and accents they can't enjoy

becoming naturalized

in the year of bicentennial celebration

the migration of my parents

to your welfare state

of millions living in tenement housing

reeking with the smell of urine and cheap liquor

traveling the US of A

as large as Whitman's green mind, white beard, and red heart

from the Deadman's Pass rest area

on the old Oregon Trail

to the Scenic Overlook at the Mason-Dixon line, Maryland

from White Spot––Albuquerque

to Cafe Rose––Arlington

from Gate's Rubber Factory––Denver

to AC Rochester––Flint

from Boulder High School

to the University of Washington

from Mountain Home––Idaho

to Rockford--Illinois

as large as Mark Twain's laughter and irony

teardrop by teardrop

from YMCA's casket-sized single rooms

in Brooklyn


San Francisco

to Denver's Republic Hotel

corner of 15th and California

the home of broken old men and women

subsisting on three hundred sixty four dollars

social security checks

waiting on Denver oilmen in the Petroleum Club

Nights of Jazz at El Chapultepec

the Larimer of the past

where Arapahoes lived in their tepees

and now sleep on the sidewalks

with battered lips and broken heads

going door to door on Madison Ave, Seattle

selling death insurance for American National

servicing houses of bare minimum––

a TV and a couch

drunken men and women

lonely ailing old African women making quilts

selling each for fifty dollars

marrying a teacher

a third generation auto worker

whose parents shared crops in Caraway, Arkansas

fathering two tender boys

born in America

with their blue and brown eyes

half origins of Asiatic Caucasianness

substituting for teachers

babysitting bored Middle School children

driving them home in a school bus

teaching your youth to write English

and speak Persian

loving your children







hating your aggression

you aligned yourself with the worst of my kind

exiled my George Washington––

Dr. Mohammad Mosaddeq

helped Saddam bomb my birthplace

destroy the school of my childhood

his soldiers swarming the hills of Charzebar

where as a child I hunted with my grandfather

sold arms to warmongers

who waged battles on grounds

that my great-grandfather made fifteen pilgrimages

on foot to Karbala

now I lay claim to your Bill of Rights

and Declaration of Independence.

I came to you

not a prince who had lost his future throne

not a thief

finding a cover in the multitude of your metropolis

hiding behind your volumes of law

not a merchant

dreaming of exploiting your open markets

not a smuggler seeking riches overnight

but a green-horn seventeen year-old

with four hundred dollars

after dad sold his prized Breda  

and mom some of her wedding jewelry

with a suitcase of clothes and books––




Baba Taher





and a small Koran––

my grandmother's gift

not to conquer Wall Street


or Hollywood

I came to you

to study

to learn

and I learned you can't deny me parenthood

I lost my grand-parents

while roaming your streets

traveling across your vastness

you can't turn me down

I gave you my youth

walking and driving Colfax nights long

I came with hate

but now I love you




Note by Ali Zarrin: I wrote this poem in the early 1990s.  Initially, I meant to dedicate it to Allen Ginsberg.  I actually presented it to him in person in the summer of 1994 at Naropa in Boulder.  I still treasure a draft of this poem with Allen’s remarks in his handwriting.  He had previously done the same to many of my poems.  However, this poem was already accepted for publication in a special edition of the Literary Review dedicated to the Persian Literature of the Iranian Diaspora (1996) and I considered the poem finished.  In 1999, it was published in Identity Lessons: Contemporary Writing About Learning to Be American (Penguin Press) and in 2001 as a Prologue to Exiled Memories (Temple University Press, 2001.  It was also published as a chapbook in 2006 by Alien Books.  It has also appeared in the following publications: Neveshta, International Literary Journal published in Tehran, Iranian.com and Other Voices Poetry in the USA, and etc.



[Used by permission of the author. Originally published in NHS 2013, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/_special_edition_nhs_2013/.]