this sadness is an ancient creature
A year of plague,
A year of fire storms,
of the deaths of clever
friends and brothers,
of being a refugee,
of watching confused citizens,
watching the angry mob swarm.
pestilence and famine
draw differences so sharp
inequalities come glaring
into life and death relief
the mob is here to bargain
do you care
what you believe?
White Privilege, Cops and Knees
Nineteen fifty-nine, before the bricked-up
storefronts of today’s Rebecca Avenue,
cousin Willie and I were fighting
with all the fierceness twelve year olds
muster when they’re faced with losing position
at the table. All the tables. On the street.
We broke the shoemaker’s plate glass window.
Willie pushed me through it with one great heave
and I grabbed, took him with me into the store,
onto the floor.
Mr. Ingomar was startled, and angry,
on the phone to the police instantly.
Cops are humorless and frightened most
all the time, ‘cept when they’re humorless
and facing pre-teen boys that one day
will be men they’ll have to stand against,
maybe, so they present how menacing they can be.
The steely-eyed one coming into Bjorn’s
that day was stern and threatened destruction.
But no one touched anybody else.
Well, Willie kept throwing jabs
all the way through the lectures
and the only knee involved was
the one I nailed Willie’s butt
with on the walk back home
to face our parents’ wrath.
Wilkinsburg, city of churches,
a suburb of Pittsburgh,
ravaged by Polio,
the summer disease.
Doctor Salk’s vaccine.
Every child at Johnson’s
School was marched past
Nurse Smiley to Doctor
white coat and his instruments.
All the fathers exhaled,
moms went back to jarring condiments.
The deaths were talked of constantly,
newspaper pics of iron lungs in rows.
The battle of the century was won
but foot soldiers left on crutches
were all children on their own.
Now another epidemic tornados
through the countryside unfettered.
The viral casualties invisibilities, all that can be shown.
All the Lizards Acquiesce
The Republicans are showing their support
for smashing the American Republic in favor of
a fascist cult leader. They’re sick of democracy.
It hasn’t gotten them anywhere in the last 40 years.
Fuck democracy that means a cruel oligarchy
makes all the rules and gets all the money.
The senate of Rome eventually became the
rubber stamp of dictatorship and an empire
was born .. is that an argument for tyranny?
That’s what the Republican senators and congressmen
are waiting for .. other fascists to impose
a tyrant on their people. Whoever it is,
it has their consent. It’s a sad day, a stern test.
They will kill their miseries with AR-15s
aimed at election workers just doing a job.
No sir, there was no tricky software flipping votes.
No sir, we never once saw Elvis stuffing ballots in his coat.