Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016


Walmart Was the Largest Retailer in America

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CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, August 3, 2058 —
Environmental anthropologist Cidney Glass,
speaking before the International Symposium
on Displacement, cited the white supremacy
years, the period of the political riots, and
climate displacement for the decline of the megachain.
This year the El Paso massacre of 2019 falls on the
exact same day it then occurred, she noted,
during her keynote address today.
Glass, of the former city of New Orleans,
who migrated to New Zealand during the
First Climate Incursion is considered the foremost
expert of the remaining world in her field.
“Adaptation is the key, adherence to a set of
core values that allow for compromise, consensus,
and acceptance of diversity in ideas and people.
The domed cities we now consider a necessary condition
for human survival on earth, were once thought dystopian,
seen as a means to exclude some rather than protect all.
We’ve come a long way in a relatively short amount of time,
spurred by necessity, the mother of invention.”
Dr. Glass pointed out in her talk which
stressed continued vigilance to warning signs
to predict and direct change, that it became
less and less safe to venture out
during the period of the 2020s, accelerating
the drone era and many societal
changes we today don’t even question.
One example she gave was the New Zealand
assault weapons ban, quoting the now 78 year
old former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s
statement at the time in which Ardern said:
“You either believe that in New Zealand
these weapons have a place or you do not.
And if you believe, like us, that they do not,
you should be able to agree that we can
move swiftly. My view is that an argument
about process is an argument to do nothing.”



As a practitioner of the poetry of bearing witness I try to see through the darkest hours and find possibilities. I hope the title created to represent a headline might indicate the news of a future reflecting that which becomes the most relevant matter in its time.

Howard Richard Debs is a recipient of the 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards. His work appears internationally; his book Gallery: A Collection of Pictures and Words, is a 2017 Best Book Awards and 2018 Book Excellence Awards recipient.

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