The American Dream
by Delaney McDonough
There’s a girl somewhere sitting in front of a cheap, slow
public library computer
Striving to be the first in her family
Walking home in the dark
To a hungry family, a poor family, an angry family, a broken family
That’s not me
I’m a Catholic white girl
Average brown hair (with the best shampoo),
Average blue eyes (with the best mascara),
An average athlete (with the best equipment),
An average student (with the best tutors)
I don’t have to bring home money
I study on occasion
I cheat and don’t get caught,
I steal and don’t get stopped,
I live a life where community service is an act
And summer programs have to prove something
Politicians, poets, rappers, proud of their struggle
Tell stories of discrimination, perseverance, challenge, strength,
Proud of their identity
Proud of the injustice they conquered
That’s not me
I was born in my identity
I was born where I sit in a J.Crew polo
In front of a plasma screen
In a well-lit, well-designed, freshly painted room
I never lived through any struggle,
Actually I sprained my ankle once
And the saddest day of my life
Was when I left summer camp
I have food, a home, an education, a family
I have a second cell phone, a second digital camera, a third iPod
I have money
But I hate it
I never had to prove myself to the world
I don’t deserve what I have
I don’t deserve who I am
I have nothing to live for
Nothing to fight for
Nothing to beat
I’m not living,
I’m dying the American Dream
Psalm 139 (NIV)
1 You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.