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By Phil Kaye

1 I love this place, the community, the people, and the sense of stability
2 and this place is amazing, this place is amazing, this place is a maze, is a maze, is a maze.

3 Scientific fact, law of conservation, energy cannot be created nor destroyed, only transferred from one state to

4 another. 1945, Albert Einstein, scientist, creates the atomic bomb, a hundred thousand houses implode and

5 American suburbia explodes.

6 Read the paper, we're choking, cities' smoking, there is her body, wrinkled, cracking, loose, out there on the

7 fringe there is plenty, space so empty you can stretch your arms out inside her, thick, overgrown, that's how you

8 know she is virgin.

9 1970, by this time the number of people living in suburbia had exploded 300 percent,

10 this is the 20th century, we knew we'd reach the pacific eventually, this is only new manifest destiny, locusts,

11 hocus, pocus, poof smoke makes you choke, but at least it is air.

12 City *slaps face twice* city wakes up mid surgery, the suitcase of her chest ripped open, her highway innards

13 are scattered around the room, there are a thousand kidneys in the corner, they all look like mine, what are

14 their names, nurse, nurse, bring me more anesthesia, I was never truly sleeping just for that moment American

15 dreaming, the nurse with a rag to my face, breathe, breathe, everyone is happy.

16 Our little American sequel, seagulls, regal, fecal, illegal, separate, equal, popular real estate text book stress the

17 importance of social homogeneity,

18 The thing about weeds, Mr. Kennedy, is their penchant for multiplying, you let just one move into your

19 community and sooner or later, you'll have one growing in your very own back yard, well then there goes the

20 neighborhood, there goes, the neighborhood,

21 go, go farther, farther, city on a sill, oops had a little spill, looks like an accident, wouldn't quite call it kill, I'm

22 choking, cities smoking, give me throat drops or is it Winthrops*, city on a pill, father, farther, are little mazes,

23 mouse-traps, cul-de-sacs, this house is amazing, this house is amazing, this house is amazing, this house is

24 amazing, this house is amazing, farther, Father, raise me, graze me, open flame me, we are not all the same, are

25 we, are we?

26 Run, eat, water, food fence, run eat, fence, run, fence, run, eat, water, food, fence, breathe, breathe, everyone

27 is happy you are only making this more difficult for yourself.

* John Winthrop was a wealthy English Puritan lawyer and one of the leading figures in the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Winthrop's famous sermon gave rise to the widespread belief in that the United States of America is God's country because metaphorically it is a Shining City upon a Hill, an early example of American exceptionalism.

1. What is the author’s message about suburbia?

2. What are 2 stylistic choices the author use to convey this idea? (figurative language, imagery, syntax, repetition, diction, etc.) Identify the stylistic choice and give an example.



3. How can you relate Phil Kaye’s spoken word poem to the themes and ideas in Tortilla Curtain. Support your answer with at least 2 specific examples from the book. (walls, stereotypes, disenchantment,etc).
4. Do you believe that it is better to raise a family in the suburbs or the city? Explain your answer.

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