American Machine

Pulp altars, paper soldiers,
patriotism and World War II,
(jazz in the ‘40s)
exploratory complex sounds

Poem by Cornelius Fortune - arlingtonbooks@yahoo.com Doodle by Jonathan Wiley

Doodle by Jonathan Wiley

Visionary highways under construction;

one nation, indivisible…

liberty syncopation bursts forth as a breath

guided by gilded ideology;

flags rippling in the wind,

stubbornly stoic

Emergent sunrise – golden – collapses as

webbed corridors form

a kind of no-zone reflection,

the strangely beautiful

gestation of art, cradled, then

kindled; brought forth by a country of

contradictions – 50 bright stars

assembled in a pre-washed fabric:

color-coded fractions, capsized and failing,

a computational warehouse

tumbling through cycles

Pulp altars, paper soldiers,

patriotism and World War II,

(jazz in the ‘40s)

exploratory complex sounds

of improvisation digested

and reconstituted by the American Machine

The American Machine:

tough, worn, and in need of repair,

churns out an assortment

straight from the boiler pot:

joy, pain, discovery – innovation

Static conversations

over coffee house jazz,

comic book artists crammed

in corners, making sequential

art that moves as breezily as

a ride cymbal skirting atop

inverted chord progressions,

yielding to the democratic process

Walking bass line, descending,

then dividing into a graphic

depiction, stalled and transfixed,

leaping off the page and into

imaginations, spreading

a pop culture virus, while

history accumulates and

regurgitates shadows

mimicking a drum cadence,

faded and enveloped, awakening

time signatures, and ghostly

arrangements; harmonic

dissonance from voices

left silent by many wars

The American Machine:

stuffed, smoky, guttural,

it archives, records,

rearranges and consolidates

plans…choked by its own

regenerative qualities,

Sousa marches, freedom marches

and Constitutional remixes,

the pattern reemerges,


Two pages of a four-panel grid

depict a star-spangled comic book hero

fighting for the common man,

the downtrodden, the helpless

(and by extension, the American dream)

Charlie Parker…George Gershwin…

Jack Kirby…Stan Lee…

could only have happened in



– beautiful, complex,

ugly at times,

rich in culture,

The American Machine,

an unwritten graphic novel

whose last pages have yet to be

rendered in any form

Comments are closed.