I Protest

I Protest February 18, 2018

Come, Muse, daughter of memory,

In the name of Bertolt Brecht help me call

The Gods and Goddesses who wait to return

As our warriors against the insanity of the selfish.


From the emotional plague of the Aphrodiphobes who hate and fear sex,

From the toxic pathology of those who think that sex is evil,

When there’s nothing wrong about sex at all,

Saint Aphrodite, Goddess of passion, defend us!


From the gullibility of those who believe the Bible

Was written in stone by the finger of God,

Who enrich the con artists who pretend to be shepherds,

Saint Athena, Goddess of wisdom, defend us!


From the greed of the callous who pretend to be Christians,

Who exploit the illnesses of the poor

And steal food from the children who sleep on the ground—

Be ashamed that our city has children sleeping on the ground

Where green belts by freeways shroud the homeless tents—

Saint Ares, God of war, defend us!


From the venom of those who cannot learn anything new,

Who shoot any messenger who brings them a fact,

Who believe that fairy tales are front-page news,

Saint Hermes, Patron of science, Defend us!


In college I knew Philip Melman, then in his sixties,

A Scottish Jew who had shipped out of Glasgow in 1916.

He told me how the cops had beaten him up

On the picket lines during the fight for the right to unionize.

May the Gods piss on the memory of Ronald Reagan.

Philip said the rich never give anything to the poor

Unless they’re forced to, that free-market capitalism

Creates only monopolies for the plutocrats,

And yet there are saints, like Bill Gates and Franklin Roosevelt.


You rich who never criticize your self-righteousness,

Who sell the guns used to murder children,

The crackpot theories about money you pretend to believe

Have poisoned the visions of Tikkun ha-Olam.

May the ghost of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov send you nightmares.

May the spirit of Lev Davidovitch Bronstein steal your identities.

May the spector of the guillotine haunt your mansions.

May Spartacus this time overthrow your legions.

May Nemesis and the Erinyes serve you their just deserts.


Let that rough beast slouch toward the house of life that’s bedlam.

Let the howling Moon invoke the tower of strength that’s maudlin.

Let the lanterned madman search for truth in the wreckage of the past.

Step by step, the longest march can be done.

Joe Hill said, before the firing squad in Utah shot him,

“Don’t mourn for me, boys. Organize!”







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