Wednesday, June 12, 2019


Where are we going, Walt Whitman?
The doors close in an hour.
Which way does your beard point tonight?


A Big-Box Store in California (A Conversation)

What does it cost you to live your life?
I'll tell you what it costs me.
Your shirt cost me twenty days, America.
Your shoes, fifty.
That cell phone is three months of toil.
Your latte is my day's pay, comprende?
What price bananas? Corporate terrorism.
Are you my angel? Or my jefe?
America, will you ever be satisfied? When?
Where are we going, Walt Whitman?

The coyotes are howling
The sun is setting
The desert is coming alive
As I jostle among the avocados.
As I cross into the promised land.
America, what is the root of your power?
Don't ask me, I just work here.
The bloom has come off your flower.
The doors close in an hour.

Please wash me on cold.
Remove my tags before wearing me.
Please spin the dirt off my leaves.
Pat me dry.
I don't believe in disposable fashion.
I believe fabric should put up a fight.
I believed your promises, America.
I believed Lady Liberty was my light.
Walt Whitman,
which way does your beard point tonight?

--Josh Medsker

Josh Medsker's writing has appeared in many publications, including: Contemporary American Voices, The Brooklyn Rail, The Review Review, Haiku Journal, and Red Savina Review. For a complete list of Mr. Medsker's publications, please visit his website. (

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