for the Deeds of Men Live on
(with a nod to William Shakespeare)
by Mark Lipman
Friends, comrades, fellow Americans
lend me your ears.
We have come here to bury fascism
not to praise it
not to negotiate with it
not to give it a chance
but to put it in its rightful grave.
The evil that men do lives after them.
Though memories be short in the computer age
we still remember that
we’ve been down this road before
and pledged to ourselves,
We do not come here to fear the future
but to confront it – head on
and shape it – with our own hands
in the names of Democracy
and Justice for All,
not just the wealthy.
For the deeds of men live on and we remember
the generations of lies and betrayal,
the wars for profit
to line the pockets
of the greedy few.
While Wall Street thugs
wrecked our economy
to the sound of applause
from both sides of the aisle.
Making backroom deals
with handshakes and smiles
all the while leaving
We, the People
hanging out to dry.
So, we have come here today,
to remind you precisely what the words
“of,” “by” and “for” really mean.
And just in case you cannot read between these lines
allow me to define what we have come here to say,
Our future is not for sale.
Our rights, as human beings include things like:
Healthcare and retirement,
a clean environment, good education
and a home to live in
– guaranteed regardless of one’s stature
– just like any other responsible country on this planet
simply for the fact of being – a human being.
For the deeds of men live on
and it’s about time
that we started to live up
to our true potential.
So, we have come here today to bury fascism.
If you think it’s safe to attack
someone who’s Black, or Latino, Asian, Muslim
gay, female, poor, or simply different
just because they’re weaker than you …
then you’ve got another think coming.
Remember that the people are united
if you mess with any of us
you mess with all of us.
Now, we did not come here
to spoil your breakfast
but to make it manifest
that our destiny is our own
and woe to those who do not know
the government is there to serve the people.
So sit back, relax, enjoy your day, do not be forlorn
for what you see here – this, well this,
this is simply the calm before the storm.
Mark Lipman, founder of VAGABOND; recipient of the 2015 Joe Hill Labor Poetry Award; winner of the 2016 International Latino Book Award for The Border Crossed Us (an anthology to end apartheid); a writer, poet, multi-media artist and activist, is the author of seven books, most recently, Imposing Democracy; Poetry for the Masses; and Global Economic Amnesty. Co-founder of the Berkeley Stop the War Coalition (USA), Agir Contre la Guerre (France) and Occupy Los Angeles, he has been an outspoken critic of war and occupation since 2001. Mark uses poetry to connect communities to the greater social issues that affect all of our lives, while building consciousness through the spoken word. Currently, he is a member of POWER (People Organized for Westside Renewal), the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World), Occupy Venice, the Revolutionary Poets Brigade and 100 Thousand Poets for Change. http://www.vagabondbooks.net