Shallow Roots

by Michael Novick [excerpts]

I have shallow roots

in the blood-soaked soil of Turtle Island.

My father arrived from Bialystok

in the ’30s, in his teens.

There are no Americans in my genes

and my genes are in no Americans.

My non-biological grand-daughter

was raised in Europe and has become a Swede,

married to a Swede,

with two lovely Swedish children.

I am glad she didn’t have to grow up here,

steeped in misogyny and corruption.

My roots are shallow

in this blood-soaked land of Turtle Island,

yet oddly I am taught and told and expected to feel

that this land is my land

that this land is my birthright

that I am white and this is the site

of my manifest destiny,

delivered, signed and sealed.

And if I say, “Stop the Steal!”

and mean, not the election,

but the erection

of an edifice of greed and destruction

on stolen land, on soil soaked in blood;

some people think I am too harsh,

that I’m bogged in a marsh

of white guilt, pointless

and incapable of organizing

for socialism. Share the wealth,

they say. But one day

I know they too will see

that there cannot be

a free society

on stolen land.

Michael Novick is an occasionally-published poet and author. In addition to working on the editorial and production crew of Change Links, he is editor and publisher of Turning The Tide, Journal of Inter-communal Solidarity from Anti-Racist Action – L.A. He serves as the chair of the KPFK Local Station Board, and is on the board of Interfaith Communities United for Justice & Peace (ICUJP).

A retired adult education school teacher with LAUSD and other districts, he was a rank and file shop steward (AKA chapter chair) in United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) and was on their House of Reps and their Human Rights Committee for many years.

Recently elected as a delegate to the Democratic Socialists of America national convention from DSA-LA with Intersectional Socialists for Black Liberation, Michael was a founding member of the BDS-LA Coalition, working on the Amazon Boycott in support of Palestine, workers’ rights, and an end to

corporate involvement in state surveillance and terror.

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