Americana Doll Collection {Robert F Gross}        


If Christine Mannon were Lana Turner

Abraham Lincoln would write
the Emancipation Proclamation
on a shovel and carry it to school

If the assassination were Imitation of Life

Ezra Mannon (Edward Everett Horton)
would walk the halls at night
draped in the Stars and Stripes
plotting his comeback as Mark Antony
down endless arcades of
cigar store Injuns
mummified preachers
Barbie dolls and
winged seraphs of Heaven


Sometimes it takes forever for white folk to realize dey is dead
the mammy tells her daughter
before she runs away
and becomes a showgirl


Mary Todd in the doll collection
smelling of scented soap
sings all-a-green-willow
embroiders late into night
recollects her marriages
to Raymond Massey
Daniel Day Lewis
Troy Donahue
Strom Thurmond
L. Ron Hubbard
(They were lovely dolls)
                                        She hears Ezra pacing
                                        the corridors of power
                                        (No one sleeps in America)

                                                        Hast thou prayed tonight, Desdemona?

        John Wilkes Booth as Othello enters from stage right to strangle Mary Todd
        he's got the handkerchief he foams at the mouth he rolls his eyes
        he doesn't understand that Mary Todd's a doll so when he squeezes tight
        her head pops off and fireworks erupt to that everlovin' Sousa march
        (sic semper tyrannis!) we never can remember the name of


Sometimes it takes dem white folks forever to learn
 dem lines rehearse all dem dramas
                        Dey don't remember nuffin


If history were Long Day's Journey into Night or
Peyton Place

Ezra would write the Assassination
Proclamation on a shovel
carry it to school and kill
his third-grade teacher
realize what he's done
a lifetime later       his mouth
snaps opens like the nutcracker
he stiffens down the stairs
his black manservant holds him

Massa! Are you dead yet? Massa!

                Lana Turner enters putting on her gloves
                and adjusting her Manifest Destiny
                She knows she should deal with this
                but it's morning in America again
                time to shop time to cross the town
                square thick with chrevolets and bison