Journalism In Verse


Pantoum of the American Citizen

in Politics by

As the sun rose in Washington, we knew McGahn wouldn’t appear.
And one Senator said, “Thank god we don’t have chicken on the dais.”
The aisles began to fill with Americans who wanted to know
what McGahn knew, but he was told to not comply.

We only just realized there were no chickens on the dais.
And everyones’ childhood recalled what McGahn had said,
though the exact words would remain floating among the stars
because he’d rather not comply or tell us what he knew.

It was different then, since everyone’s childhood is different.
What we knew and didn’t know, and what country we lived in.
There were moments unlike this one, when we loved our President
because, though he wouldn’t comply, he’d tell us what he knew.

It was a different country then, and so was what we knew and didn’t.
There were good people on both sides, and we were all Americans.
Lies were left lying where they lay, there were no trade wars
and jail was for those who wouldn’t tell us what they knew

despite being Americans and lying to good people on both sides
about their affairs, their struggle with racism, reasons for going to war,
the state-building done for the world with the blood of our troops.
What they didn’t know was that jail was forever and for those who

who’d had affairs, struggled with racism, and had no reason for war.
Behind White House walls, a-glowing, McGahn did work.
And what choice does an American citizen have? What rights?
When jail is for everyone who doesn’t know and doesn’t know forever

behind White House walls, a-glowing, where McGhahn worked.



Alejandro Escudé’s received a master’s degree in creative writing from UC Davis. He works as an English teacher. A new book, “The Book of the Unclaimed Dead,” was published by Main Street Rag Press and is currently available.

Photograph by Gage Skidmore.


Ex-White House lawyer Don McGahn defies House subpoena for Mueller docs

President Donald Trump says it ‘doesn’t matter’ what former White House counsel Don McGahn told Mueller
[ABC News]

House votes to enforce subpoenas for Trump administration officials
[CBS News]

Latest from Politics


Precedent 45

By Rémy Dambron. What does it take to make a president impeachable?

My Earth and Hers

By Jay Eddy. Jeffrey Epstein's suicide didn't absolve his abuse. Just ask

Dear Ruth

By Yvonne Daley. "Those of us who do not pray pray for
Go to Top