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  • Writer's pictureKidd Williams

The Old ‘Johnny Appleseed’

By Kidd Williams

Before he went to work he went through the motions, he

cinched his pants with the finest rope, he did his chores,

cleared his debts, settled scores. He listened to advice

from many sides, wrote it down, mailed it to the world.

He set out in the morning, excited as childhood.

Over the lands, people grew his name in windowboxes.

He would arrive in a town with crowds cheering,

and the longer he stayed, the more he forgot.

Every time he saw what he’d done wrong (always long

overdue) people became free. When he stretched his arms,

everyone knew admiration. He laughed with his whole

face, and his sheltered lusts made jackals blush.

Gradually, his clothes became worn, and replaced. He

suffered heartburn, grew fat and deaf. Rodents took over

his attic, and his good name stopped going ahead of him,

his promises seldom caught up to again. Soon,

there was nothing more than his old name traveling.

You know it: “America.”

About the Author

Kidd Williams is the publishing and performing name of Joy Williams, a trans woman poet and musician in Bath, NY. Her work has appeared throughout the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier in numerous regional anthologies, and has been exhibited in juried art shows as well as displayed in outdoor parks through the City of Elmira's "Poetry Posts" projects. She contributed a series of essays and poems to Southern Tier Life in June 2022.


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