A time in America

By Patrick T. Reardon


“Hear the trumpets, hear the pipers. One

hundred million angels singin’. Multitudes

are marchin’ to the big kettledrum.”

 — Johnny Cash,

 “When the Man Comes Around.”




Serve in Cleveland a sad hosanna.

Carry the broken alleluia.

Gamble, dance, make strange,

adorned with costly votives.

Smite the smiters.

Cross Thief River Falls.

Strike the Tallahassee anvil.


Bread is broken in Casper.


It is a time of mourning after the flood.

Will you lay with me?


Live under another name.

File a questionable report in Denver.

Corrugate iron.


Preach in Spokane numbness.

Trudge Abilene alleys.


Prance a world of trouble.

Work the unfit stone.


It is time to feast on spleeny vipers.


Look. Twitch. Big river.


Leave in Milwaukee no stone

when the man comes around.

The hiss of gas and awesome signs

in the heavens over Little Rock.


Bread is broken in Fort Wayne.


It is landfill time.

Will you lay with me?


Rejoice in pain.

Run the halls of heaven.

Walk the line.


Call it an order.

Call it reconciliation.

Call it honest fashion.


Bread is broken in San Diego.


Call it a day.


Through my fault.





Patrick T. Reardon



This poem was originally published by Meat for Tea, December, 2023

Written by : Patrick T. Reardon

For more than three decades Patrick T. Reardon was an urban affairs writer, a feature writer, a columnist, and an editor for the Chicago Tribune. In 2000 he was one of a team of 50 staff members who won a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting. Now a freelance writer and poet, he has contributed chapters to several books and is the author of Faith Stripped to Its Essence. His website is https://patricktreardon.com/.

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