Two Poems on Revolution

Sam Friedman


Although almost no one ponders
France in 1787
when the King’s Wars transmuted
gold-stuffed treasure-rooms
into empty chambers echoing “Debt,”
while barons and bishops said “Bah”
to taxes
and “Humbug”
to loans,
and impasse bred
I muse about 1787 in 2013.

Humbugs in Congress chant “Bah”
as their mantra
while the modern Prince’s wars drone on.
I see stand-offs and face-offs; I see every city and town
declare its beefs, its rusty bridges,
its schools seeking books on empty shelves,
bought-off burgesses, blustering bankers,
and free-floating fear filling
everyone’s sky.

I shiver and tremble
(but is it lust?
or is it dread of bushels
of chopped-off heads?)
at visions of prisons
sitting emptied, of men and women living freed
while truckloads of rubbish
rumble to the dump:

writs of foreclosure,
long-pending student debt,
barrels-full of wiretaps
and 30 tons of policemen’s guns
encrusted in lye.


You have the right to be . . .

Show, don’t tell, is the motto of flashers.
Show and tell is the motto of Homeland Security.

Brevity is the soul of false witness.
Guilt is in the eye of Eric Holder.

Gold is in the “my” of the stockholder.
Fortune favors the gold.

Silence corrupts; absolute silence corrupts absolutely.
In the land of the silent, blind patriotism is king.

A word to the wise is deficient—
it takes a poem to uprise a village.

Without charity, we are nothing.
Without clarity, we fall

in mere rebellion.


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