THE WHITMAN ISSUE
I could outshout Walt Whitman, America,
Cataloguing your profligate colors, your downhome dialects,
Your striped and spangled farmlands,
Your supermarket variety,
The flexed biceps of your he-man mountains,
Your summer waters shimmying
Like sequined carny girls,
Crickets chorusing on your country roads,
Highways zooming past motels and gas pumps,
Neon bleeding in the dusk, leading
To booming ocean beaches
Or morning cities, their starward pinnacles
Catching the first light.
I know your downtown streets abandoned
Late at night.
I know all your sins and faults,
For which you have wept and prayed and paid
And are paying.
I dig your stubborn independence,
Your clumsy kindness, your contrariness,
Your meant handshake.
I could go on and on,
Like a minstrel on the road,
Hailing your many weathers,
Plinking, strumming your praises on my heart's banjo,
Kissing my hand to your free and open stars.
Joseph Awad grew up inside the Beltway. He graduated
from Gonzaga and majored in English and edited the college literary journal
at Georgetown University. He did graduate work in English at the George Washington
University. His poems have appeared widely in literary publications over the
years and he has published four books of poetry. He has served as Poet Laureate
To read more by this author:
Joseph Awad: DC Places Issue