Dialectics against Die-electics: Three Poems — by Sam Friedman

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Why do our movement veterans’ websites still sing the songs of hope?

I remember our singing,
our sit-ins,
the beatings others suffered
but I escaped,
our weekly meetings,
our arguments and deep thoughts,
our moral agonies
and the fluent tongues of some.

We learned through failure about the limits
of self-sacrifice and morality
to move our nation,
and so we called up the demons
of class struggle,
war against war,
Black power
and the anger of women and gays
from their hidden depths,
waged massive strikes
and roadway seizures,
now forgotten,
now suppressed.

Our thoughts and agonies
ended that Jim Crow, helped upend the War on ‘nam
and crippled our country’s gunmetal depredations
for a decade.

But the Phoenix of profits in power
undid our undoing,
built the prisons of racism re-boosted
and the Wars of Terror reborn.

So why do our movement veterans’
web sights still sparkle with visions of hope?
Why, as we’re dying,
do we call forth new struggles?
Is there really hope
in this threatening night?

In the coming years

In the coming years, the get-along get-ahead limo liberals
will whitewish
the reign of Obama.
Drones, the sneering negation of single payer,
droning poverty and part-time jobs,
militarized killer cops,
the deported millions and their months encaged,
the police state seeking of the leakers-of-truth

will all be re-branded as hard and necessary decisions
that responsible statescraft always demands.  Relics like
Michelle’s sweat socks and the undies Barack perspired in on his trip to Cuba
will sell for five figures on eBay
and their pens and flashdrives
for millions at Sotheby’s.

Nay-sayers will be branded as fantasists,
mad-man radicals like Ginsberg or Martin
as fit only for Guantanamo
or to run howling where heating Arctic methane bubbles’
hisses and pops
can syncopate their prophecies
and elegize the death of man.

Flopping

As our human race nears
its finish line,
leaders of nations,
corporations and
pulpits
know only the roads of profits, bombast
bomb blast
and gain.
Our movements of the Right fantasize the Rapture
and racial and national restoration,
their single insight
that the End Times indeed are near.
Our Left flip flops between
Lesser Evils,
argues ably about what it is Against
while supporting chimeras it views
as bulwarks
against a rampaging Reaction,
successively Uncle Joe Stalin,
JFK, LBJ,
Uncle Ho, Castro, Mao,
the millionaire Mullahs of Iran,
Gaddafi, Putin, Obama and Warren,
but never figures out what is is really for.

So as I age,
I ponder “aprés moi, le deluge,”
try to inspire the young
to build a truly new world,
and weep at reports of tide levels, glaciers
or what the latest progressive savior
stood against today

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