Tuesday, May 01, 2007

May Day Revisited

I. The Land

--The Sisters
--The Daughter
--The Children
--A son

The group marched overnight, holding photos of lost loved ones and torches.

Who’s sorry for our trouble?

The stakes in the square one afternoon in Augsburg
were so thick it seemed to be a forest: We are still learn-
ing to recognize what we see.

Traces erased. Details removed.
Letters sewn into quilts – or burned.
Self-portraits hidden in trunks – or burned.

Land
will change
hand
s

Let us remember

THE UNITED STATES, WHEN HARDING
BECAME PRESIDENT

A Period of Frazzled Nerves, Caused by the End of War-time Strain; of Disunity Caused by the End of the More or Less Artificially Built-up United of the War Period; of Strikes Caused by Continuation of War-time’s High Cost of Living; of Business Depression Which Cam when War-time Prices Began to Fall; and of Other Disturbances Due in Part to Economic Dislocations Brought by the War and Its Aftermath. From All of Which Arose Emotions of In-security and Fear, Which Expressed Themselves in Turbul-ence and Strife. The Boston Police Strike, the Steel Strike, the “Buyers’ Strike” and the “Rent Strike.” The “Red Scare.” The Bomb Plots. A Dynamite Explosion in the New York Financial District. Deportation of Radicals. Demand for Reduction of Immigration. The I.W.W. and the “One Big Union.” Sacco and Vanzetti. Race. Riots Between Whites and Negroes. The Whole Reflecting an Unhappy Country when Harding Became Its President.


The bridge under our wheels moaned, some said, because it was built in a time of war. Others were more specific – it moaned because of the two men buried in the concrete.

There’s a sucker born every minute.

There’s a sucker born every minute.

---

II. The Dislocation

It’s difficult to decide which is more frightening – car bombs and militias, or having to leave everything you know and love, to some unspecified place for a future where nothing is certain.

An ecstatic response surges from the static:

then I =waste=, =zap=, =nuke=, =rub out= you, I =croak=, =snuff=, =bump off=, =knock off=, =bushwack=, =lay out= you, I =polish off=, =blow away=, =blot out=, =erase=, =wipe out=, =blast=, =do in= you, I =off=, =ice=, =hit=, =gun down=, =pick off=, =put to bed with a shovel=, =take care of= you, I =take out=, =take for a ride=, =give the works to=, =get=, =fix=, =settle=, =spill blood=, =let blood as in waste=, =nuke=, =zap=, =croak= you

The response knows, as they know,

Soon they will cross
on their bellies; kissing

black earth.


Running to
America.

Exile,

your ninety-nine names
trill the tip of my tongue.


They must run to America
.
Their skin,
color of earth,
is a brand

Still they come.

A hungry people
have no country.

Many of the bodies have never been recovered.


Land
will change
hand
sss


Who dreamt that we might dwell among ourselves
In rain and scoured light and wind-dried stones?

--

III. The Trial

CHARGES AGAINST

Providing
Mishandling classified information
Fraternising
relationship with
special privileges
Failing to obey

Failing obligations as approving authority for expenditure


Basalt, blood, water, headstones, leeches.

Lives
will be took
will be lost
& gained
but Bloods
will see
again
will know again

Passing men in the street who are dead
becomes a common occurrence

On matters of life and death

The court gave no reason for its decision but three out of nine judges said they would have heard the case.

Let us now remember.


Atlantic Center for the Arts, May 1, 2007 12.49 PM



Sources:

bbc.com May 1, 2007
Michelle Cliff Claiming an Identity They Taught Me to Despise
Ishmael Reed Mumbo Jumbo
Anne Waldman IOVIS, Book II
Luis J Rodriguez Poems Across the Pavement
Selected Poetry of Amiri Baraka/LeRoi Jones
Khaled Mattawa Zodiac of Echoes
Seamus Heaney Opened Ground
Audre Lorde From a Land Where Other People Live

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