Laurie Anderson: Another Day in America
Another Day in America
And so finally, here we are at the beginning of a whole new era.
The start of a brand new world. And now what? How do we start?
How do we begin again?
There are some things you can simply look up--
Such as the size of Greenland, the dates of the famous nineteenth-century rubber wars,
Persian adjectives, the composition of snow.
And other things you just have to guess at.
And then again today is the day and those were the days and now these are the days.
And now the clock points histrionically to noon. Some new kind of north.
And so, which way do we go?
What are days for? To wake us up.
To put between the endless nights.
And by the way here's my theory of punctuation. Instead of a period
at the end of each sentence there should be a tiny clock that shows
how long it took you to write that sentence.
And another way to look at time is this: There was an old married
couple and they had always hated each other. Never been able to stand
the sight of each other really. And when they were in their nineties
they finally got divorced and people said: Why did you wait so long?
Why didn't you do this a whole lot earlier? And they said: Well, we
wanted to wait until the children died.
Ah America! And yes that will be America. A whole new place just
waiting to happen. Broken up parking lots, rotten dumps, speedballs,
accidents and hesitations, things left behind, Styrofoam, computer
And Jim and John, oh they were there. And Carol too, her hair pinned
up in that weird beehive way she loved so much. And Craig and Phil
moving at the pace of summer. And Uncle Al who screamed all night in
the attic. Yes something happened to him in the war they said over in
France. And France had become something we never mentioned.
Yes some were sad to see those days disappear. The flea markets and
their smells, the war, all the old belongings strewn out on the
sidewalks. Mildewed clothes and old resentments and ragged record
And ah these days. All these days! What are days for?
To wake us up. To put between the endless nights.
And meanwhile all over town checks are bouncing and accounts are being
automatically closed. Passwords are expiring. And everyone's
counting and comparing and predicting. Will it be the best of times?
Will it be the worst of times? Or will it just be another one of
those times? Show of hands please!
And ah this world which like Kierkegaard said can only be understood
when lived backwards which would entail an incredible amount of
planning and confusion.
And then there are those big questions always at the back of your
mind. Things like: Are those two people over there actually my real
parents? Should I get a second Prius? And you, you who can be silent
in four languages.
Your silence will be considered your consent.
Ah but those were the days before the audience and what the audience
wanted. And what the audience said it wanted.
And you know the reason I really love the stars is that we cannot hurt them.
We can't burn them or melt them or make them overflow.
We can't flood them or blow them up or turn them out.
But we are reaching for them. We are reaching for them.
Some say our empire is passing. As all empires do.
And others haven't a clue what time it is or where it goes or even where the clock is.
And oh the majesty of trees. An unstoppable train. Different colored wonderlands.
Freedom of speech and sex with strangers.
Dear old God, may I call you old? And may I ask: Who are these
people? Ah America! We saw it. We tipped it over and then we sold
it. These are the things I whisper softly to my dolls, those
heartless little thugs dressed in calico kilts and jaunty hats and
their perpetual white toothy smiles.
And oh my brothers and oh my sisters. What are days for? Days are where we live.
The flow and then the flow. They come, they fade, they go and they go.
No way to know exactly when they start or when their time is up.
Oh, another day, another dime. Another day in America.
Another day, another dollar. Another day in America.
And oh my brothers and oh my long lost sisters.
How do we begin again? How do we begin?