Welcome to WalMart.
Can I help you find something today?

I see the far off neon glow glaze your gaze as you enter,
Amidst the hum of incandescence,
The staccato chorus of barcode readers
And the subtle percussion of pushcarts
Pregnant to bursting with your bundles;

Because it’s 3am, and who else is open?
Because you don’t want to drive to separate places
for your diapers and your lightbulbs;
Because it’s… cheaper
It’s just… cheaper,
And there is no shame in being so shallow
(your pockets, I mean)

Paint me as evil if you want;
it’s always easier to throw stones
when you don’t know the glass house is made of mirrors,
An amalgam of all that “American” has become
I’m used to having a target trailing me.

I was born
as an Arkansas 5 and dime
in the land of ambition,
I grew
on a cannibalistic diet of ma and pa stores
and blood from the cut-throat hunt
of predatory pricing,
I scout new sites to plant my feet
Like conquistadors,
Manifest destiny of capitalism
And the smallpox of big box
Hiding in my designer blankets

In mexico,
I bulldozed an ancient alter for my parking lot;
In Nashville,
I relocated civil war bones for my bathroom
And you,
Minimum wage slave,
Have the audacity to complain about your bondage
When you’re the one paying for these retail chains.
I don’t have to work to suck your blood
With your wallet hemorrhaging the way it does

So come ,
and make fun of the trailerpark trash that blows in
While spending the cash
That builds the trap which holds them captive,
and tell yourself the stealing from me is ethical
Even when it means not buying locally either,
And roam my aisles like forlorn lovers
Looking for the puzzle piece product to fill the hole
you’ve carved out of your hearts in my image,
my costumers
my beautiful consumers,
leave me if you like
but know another will always rise up
to take my place in this relationship…

When a race of alien archeologist
Come to uncover what mattered most to us,
They will be welcomed into subterania
By old, wrinkled plastic smiling baggy faces,
The remains no culture could ever break down

So welcome to Walmart
How can I help you?


from Growing Up, Not Old, released June 30, 2016



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Houston Hughes Fayetteville, Arkansas

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