Written during the late 1970s, the 1980s and early 1990s, these poems might reflect some of the historical mood of those decades:
The Forgotten Majority
We speak for the Forgotten Majority.
We speak for the Forgotten Majority of the 1980s that refuses to vote for new dictators in the media-rigged elections.
We speak for the Forgotten Majority that owns no stock in the exploitative corporations of the USA.
We speak for the Forgotten Majority which lives in poverty and either walks the streets without jobs or is locked in 9 to 5 slavery in offices or factories that pay wages too low.
We speak for the Forgotten Majority that can’t afford next month’s rent for a slum apartment and can’t afford the price of a new house or a new condo and must move from old neighborhoods because the rent has been gentrified.
We speak for the Forgotten Majority.
We speak for the Forgotten Majority that is denied jobs, housing, and an adequate standard of living because of colonialism, neo-colonialism and racial discrimination.
We speak for the Forgotten Majority that the capitalist patriarchy oppresses and exploits.
We speak for the Forgotten Majority that opposes the Pentagon’s war moves in Central America, Europe and the Middle East, but is excluded from mass media access.
We speak for the Forgotten Majority that wants an end to the oppression of gay men and lesbians and an end to the rule of Democratic and Republican Party politicians and their white capitalist allies.
We speak for the Forgotten Majority that demands its freedom now!
They’re lining up the robots and the troops
The mass media cheerleaders are telling us why we should be thankful
The jackasses and bird-brains are trying to manage the flesh and blood and minds and spirits of the acid-opened-up people
The Catholic Church is pumping out more leaflets from central headquarters
In the name of the Father, Son, Holy Ghost and the Vatican, Inc.
The Russian-American intellectuals are conspiring on the mattress with the women refugees from the wife-beaters.
The covert aggressors are overtly murdering civilians with U.S. guns in Nicaragua.
The Pentagon is drawing up the bombing plans and ordering a new supply of napalm.
The ghost of Walt Whitman is marching through the academic departments and crying out: “Stop the bull-shit!”
The professors are developing more weapons
The homeless are herded into the armories
The students are studying computers
The people in Nicaragua are preparing for the worst
The CIA has issued a new secret plan of aggression
To be old and unpublished and poor
In the USA
Makes you wonder what the point is
Of writing another unrecorded song
Or unpublished novel
Or unmarketable non-fiction.
You're just a slave, obviously,
Trapped in those 9 to 5 coffins
With other slaves who don't know they're slaves
While the pigs rip everyone off
And the middle-class lefties preach left gradualism from their soft middle-class job slots
And middle-class gatekeepers with middle-class critical standards, mentalities and politics
Won't let you get into print.
Yes, Revolution will come
But you might starve too soon to see it.
Although the nuke war may come sooner for you the way things are going these days.
So many wasted lives
So many wasted minds
So many wasted hands
And many wasted women.
Ugly greed surrounds my soul
Sammy Glicks and corporate females
Pig professors bullying the young
Cornering the jobs behind armed guards.
Within The Skyscraper
Within the skyscraper
Men plot evil deeds
Women sell their made-up faces, their egoistic minds and their aerobic bodies
To the highest bidder.
They talk about their markets
And how to manipulate all the fools;
Money is their god,
Weapons is their product
Theft is their profession.
But beneath the fluorescent lamps and above the carpeted floors
The Resistance to the tyrants in suits and ties
“Justice, Equality, Freedom!
Wall Street Will Fall!”
And the spirit of this Resistance
Rides the elevators up and down the skyscrapers
And across each floor
And leaves its sign in the corners of cluttered desks and cubicles
Within the skyscrapers.
To read, to write or to fight,
That is the question;
And if to read
To read what?
Fiction or history or language?
And if to write,
To write what?
Poetry, plays, novels, short stories
Or biography or non-fiction?
And if to fight,
To fight how?
When others are demoralized and psyched out by the media
To be free and loving,
That is the answer;
And to avoid literary egotism.
It's still a day of mourning for those people
Trampled on by the land lust of the settlers
And their corporate and yuppie descendents
I'm attempting to jump from coast-to-coast again
In search of freedom
In search of community
In search of a part of my youth
In search of the new 'Frissco
And a place to get through the '90s
And my '40s
While stuck in the middle of
Corporate Fascist Amerika.
Farewell loveless yuppie New York!
Be thankful you’re still alive
Be thankful you haven’t starved
Be thankful the government
Didn’t lock you behind bars.
Be thankful you have a job
Where you can be a slave all day
Be thankful you have a landlord
Who steals most of your pay.
Be thankful for all the yuppies
And all the rich businessmen
Be thankful for all the generals
Be thankful for all the pigs.
Be thankful that no one spits on you
When you sit in a subway car
Be thankful if you’re lonely
Be thankful if you can’t find much love.
Goodbye America (written on Sepember 23, 1986)
I hope to be back soon
To continue to bear witness to the inhumanity of your ruling class towards the rest of the world
You can continue to try to lock me out of your cultural world
And sentence me and my sisters and brothers to the 9 to 5 boxes
But we will continue to fight the class responsible for the mass media manipulation of U.S. working class consciousness
And even when I'm gone
Which may be soon or may be later
The flag of spiritual resistance to America's pig social system and anti-democratic pig value structure and pig cultural/intellectual/academic Establishment
Will be raised by future generations of rebels
Equality and freedom
And small "c" communism
Right here on The Lower East Side
And right her on the island of Manhattan.
Take The Man's Mass Media!
And fight the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and the corporations and Pentagon
To your last breath
Until all are free and equal.
Next: Columbia University’s IDA Jason Project 1960s Work—Part 1
James and the Twenty-Seven Bicycles
7 years ago