Poetry Corner: for the Deeds of Men Live on


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,

never again.

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,

“Enough!”

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

 

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