Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

John Hoppenthaler: Immigrant Song

“Das ist kein Amerika,” my mother told me

Uncle Eddie would say after just a few weeks


in Jersey, “Das ist Fehlerika!” Ein Fehler—mistake—

land of mistake. Bad decision. Error. Misstep.


Wrong turn. Dead end. Comma

splice. Run on sentence. Fumble


words—the ball. Drop the ball;

drop the night class. Wrong bus. Wrong


stop. Wrong neighborhood. Wrong country.

Failure. Ein Fehler. “Das ist kein Amerika.”


My uncle died young, a mistake.

He made an error and he died.


Copyright 2015 John Hoppenthaler.

From Domestic Garden (Carnegie Mellon). Reprinted by permission of the author.



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This entry was posted on January 27, 2017 by in Poetry, Social Justice and tagged , .

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