Poets Ask: “Why War?”

Poetry reveals the seen and unseen, hidden casualties of U.S. wars at home and overseas. “America zips down prayers/ and buttons up wars/ with battalions of/ impoverished youngsters/ duped into dying for dreams./ America indoctrinates/ then shames us/ for believing her spin./ 'Opportunity,' she sings,/ hiding our dead from view.”

Occupy Poetry

Oh they’ve foreclosed the home of the free/ They mortgaged and sold/ for a little Wall Street gold/ this land of equality/ Oh they’ve foreclosed the home of the free/ Now we are the brave/ Occupy and save the country/ that’s home to you and me/ the country that’s our democracy.

The Voices of the Occupy Movement

Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world, according to English poet Percy Shelley. Alameda poet Mary Rudge created profiles in poetry of the Occupy movement’s dedicated young organizers, pepper-sprayed university students, tent dwellers, longtime 1960s-era activists, jobless artists, inconvenienced bus riders, homeless squatters, and passive TV news watchers.

March Poetry of the Streets

Sleepy bored despairing,/ gray beard, gray jacket,/ blue jeans,/ blue cap./ Beloved Labrador’s gentle gaze/ lends solace./ Handcrafted sign requests help;/ holding few coins,/ your box yawns open/ walking stick sighs./ Resting beside canine friend/ you breathe.

February Poetry of the Streets

The wizards in old tales/ used to bury their hearts in secret places./ And unless you dug up the heart and / destroyed it,/ they were invulnerable and heartless./ Part of my heart is buried in People’s Park.

January Poetry of the Streets

grab your tent and screw the rent come occupy/ join the slackers and the hackers occupy/ meet the folks who lost their homes/ meet the folks who never owned one/ meet the folks down to the bone/ you’ll find you’ll never be alone/ grab a sign and join the line at occupy/ admit you’re the 99 and occupy

December Poetry of the Streets

“Arrest the homeless,” they do cry. Complete the economic genocide. From sea to shining sea, there is no place for him to pea. / Arrest him for vagrancy, arrest him for loitering, but just insure there is no tolerance. No shelter from rain, no shower to wash away the pain.

September Poetry of the Street

With more foreclosures/ than in Great Depression/ with no solution to unbearable/ homeless lives and the/ massive redistribution of wealth/ diminishing collective mental health/ with a President who plays it safe/ at every decisive moment for change/ keeps the generals and/ Wall Street happy/ there's going to be more and more/ homeless children and huddled masses

August Poetry of the Streets

A gentle lady with Parkinson's/ slept in dark alleyways/ without curfew and/ abandoned houses without walls/ in lonely Cable Car Land/ She's not there anymore/ a concerned young man/ gave her his arm and/ brought her to the hospital/ from where she never returned

"I READ THE NEWS TODAY, OH BOY!"

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York was a disaster of legendary horror that killed 146 people, mostly young immigrant women, and helped galvanize the labor movement.