Let America Be America Again

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free?  Not me?
Surely not me?  The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

Langston Hughes, 1902 - 1967

Write Me Lovely part 4

Betty floured the surface of the counter, her fingers sprinkling the white powder with practiced ease. Wiping her palms on the frilly white apron around her waist, Betty reached into the smallest fridge in the kitchen pulling out the Saran wrapped, chilled dough.

She could hear herself humming some familiar jazz tune but it was all white noise, something to keep her mind from wandering as she kneaded the dough, smoothing and rolling her wrists, this was her favorite part, pies were her thing ever since she could remember. Peach, Blueberry, apple, you name it she could make a pie out of it, and your damn straight it was the best pie this side of the county. Everyone loved her pies.

Jughead would surely love her pies.

Betty stopped abruptly, her fingers deep in the pie dough, why on earth had that crossed her mind? Why was she thinking of her penpal so late at night? She hadn’t heard back from him in a week, perhaps she had pushed her luck by asking for his dog, she hadn’t meant any offense, shebreally had been looking to adopt one and poor little hot dog seemed like he needed a home. With a heavy shake of her head Betty cleared those thoughts out of her mind. He would write her back, she was certain of it.

Today had been an odd day, not bad, just strange. It had been surprisingly busy for a Tuesday and nearly everyone seemed to be coming in for her world famous sugar cookies, she’d been putting batches in the oven all day, then on her lunch hour Veronica seemed to be obsessed with telling Betty how amazing Paris would be and how her father had tickets for two whenever they were ready, she told betty all about how unhappy she was with Archie and how she desperately needed to get away after dodging the invitation and telling her best friend “maybe Ronnie! Definitely maybe” she headed back to the bakery where her ex boyfriend Chuck Clayton was seated on the steps, he simply wanted to talk, something Betty was not willing to do after the way he had treated her. She’d gone inside the bakery, locked the doors and shut down for the day. It had definitely been strange.

A sudden sharp knock on the front door nearly sent Betty flying backwards, breaking her out of her thoughts. With a quick glance at the clock Betty’s entire body tensed, it was 12:30 at night, no one from Riverdale was ever up at 12:30 at night. Gripping the rolling pin in her hands Betty was quick to rip open the front door and stand ready to fight.

A handsome young man in a leather jacket was standing in front of her, covering some large object.

“Woah Betty Crocker! I’m not here to hurt you! I’ve got a gift.”

Betty’s eyes instantly narrowed
“I don’t know who you are, therefore I will not be accepting any gifts you have to offer. Goodnight.” The shaken blonde went to close the door but a foot quickly shot out blocking her.

“I’m not here to hurt you, listen, my names Reggie Mantle and Jughead Jones is my best friend. I’m just here to drop off this little dude.” Reggie stepped aside revealing what he had been hiding.

A shivering white sheepdog was standing behind the tall dark haired Asian, its fur covered in dirt and looking far too thin for Betty’s liking.

“Hot dog.” She whispered, her eyes turning accusingly to Reggies as she took in the state of the pup.

He instantly put his hands up
“Don’t look at me! I’ve been…away. Just got out of lockup this week, I was all the way in California. Jug knew I got out so he called me up and asked me to deliver the dog. One hell of a road trip but I’d do anything for that dude.”

Betty’s eyes softened and her shoulders slumped, a wide smile finally gracing her face as she bent down and pulled the dog closer to her.

“Hi there hotdog. Welcome home.” She nuzzled the soft fur.

She looked up when she heard Reggie chuckle
“Man you really are beautiful, I can’t wait to tell Jughead. He said he didn’t care what you looked like but I’m sure he’s gonna be relieved. Oh here, got a letter for you too.” He handed her the dirty white envelope.

Betty beamed at him before her normal hospitality kicked in.

“Cookies. I’m gonna get you cookies!” She mumbled to herself as Reggie stood awkwardly in the door way. She came back with two huge tupperwares filled with freshly baked cookies and she shoved them in the muscular boys arms.

He smirked at the blonde
“I sure like it here one riverdale, you can count on me coming back to visit.”

Betty rolled her eyes, a playful smile on her lips
“I await the day.”

He waved at her as he headed back to the sleek sports car he was driving. Odd Betty thought as she ushered hot dog inside instantly grabbing a mixing bowl and filling it with water, she had no dog food or anything dog related..

“Dogs eat chicken!” She mumbled turning the stove on and running upstairs to her own home above the bakery, digging in her fridge and pulling out the chicken, once she was downstairs she placed it in a pan to cook and sat at one of the tables by the window, Hot dog directly under her feet as she kicked off her shoes and buried her toes in his fur. Opening the letter she dig into her favorite boys words.

Dear Betty Cooper,
Suprise. Not quite what you were expecting I know, and I’m sorry in advance for Reggie, he can be an ass but he’s still my best friend. You offered Hot dog a home, you don’t seem like the kind of person who says something they don’t mean so I kind of took you up on your offer. I only have one more month left of this place, if you hate The dog I’ll take him off of your hands, if you like him.. well we’ll figure it out. Thanks for being there for him. I know he’s probably not in the best shape, those guys don’t care about anything unless it comes from a tree. As for me? I can’t wait to get out of here, I feel about as caged as Hotdog. Your town sounds real nice. Was that an invitation Betty Cooper? You wiling to show me around?If you are I might have to take you up on that offer, not much left for me here on New York, I’m ready to settle down. Now let’s get to the important matters, Your baking. I’ve gotta ask.. are you even human? You’ve gotta be some kind of angel the way those damn cookies tasted. Now I’m not gonna beg but…. please send some more, please please please. The closest thing we get to cookies are prepackaged Oreos and now that I’ve tasted your snickerdoodles I can never eat an Oreo again. How are the kids you teach? I should’ve known you’d be an art teacher, a girl of many talents for sure. Summers coming up, it’ll be nice to have a break huh? I get out of here June 16th. I’m not coming back this time Betty. I won’t be back here ever again. Well I better go, thank you for saving my dog and thanks for writing me, talk to you soon.
Be safe and stay good Betty Cooper
-Jughead Jones

Betty sighed gently, holding the letter between her fingers. He would be out soon, he wanted to come here, to her. Someone wanted to see her, be around her and only her.

“I’m ready to settle down.” Betty traced that line over and over with her finger.

“Me too Jughead Jones, me too.” Betty whispered into the empty bakery, smiling as hotdog snored under her feet.

Pretty Little Girl
Pretty Little Girl

If you break my heart then I’ll change your mind, and I will do it again. 

If you play the part then I will play mine, and I will do it again. 

If we miss the mark if we hold on tight, we’ll be there to try it again.