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Corseri, Silverstein and Whitman

by POETS' BASEMENT

Mic Check: Now We Are The People!
by GARY CORSERI

(NOTE: “Mic Check” is one of the many wholesome developments of the Occupy Movement. A single speaker’s words are echoed by a spontaneous “chorus” of listeners. The benefits are twofold: the original words are repeated, magnified and enhanced by the additional listeners-speakers; and the words are imprinted on the minds and hearts of those who speak and hear.)

 

When in the course of human events

WHEN IN THE COURSE OF HUMAN EVENTS

It becomes necessary for one people

IT BECOMES NECESSARY FOR ONE PEOPLE

To dissolve the political bands…

TO DISSOLVE THE POLITICAL BANDS…

To make their own music,

TO MAKE THEIR OWN MUSIC,

And to dance in the streets with joy–

AND TO DANCE IN THE STREETS WITH JOY–

Let us be those people!

LET US BE THOSE PEOPLE!

 

When one people

WHEN ONE PEOPLE

Shall demand redress of grievances–

SHALL DEMAND REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES–

Let us be those people!

LET US BE THOSE PEOPLE!

Let our hearts be full of courage and compassion!

LET OUR HEARTS BE FULL OF COURAGE AND COMPASSION!

Let our minds be full of clarity and light!

LET OUR MINDS BE FULL OF CLARITY AND LIGHT!

 

Learning, ever learning;

LEARNING, EVER LEARNING;

Striving, ever striving–

STRIVING, EVER STRIVING–

Forging a new tomorrow!

FORGING A NEW TOMORROW!

We hold these truths to be self-evident:

WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS TO BE SELF-EVIDENT:

That all men and women are created unequal.

THAT ALL MEN AND WOMEN ARE CREATED UNEQUAL!

Tall and short, smart and less-so;

TALL AND SHORT, SMART AND LESS-SO;

Black and white, red, brown and yellow–

BLACK AND WHITE, RED, BROWN AND YELLOW–

All have something to contribute!

ALL HAVE SOMETHING TO CONTRIBUTE!

 

Some are thrifty and some are spendthrift.

SOME ARE THRIFTY AND SOME ARE SPENDTHRIFT.

Some lean Left and some lean Right.

SOME LEAN LEFT AND SOME LEAN RIGHT.

Nevertheless…

NEVERTHELESS…

No one has the right to hurt another.

NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO HURT ANOTHER.

No one has the right to cheat or lie or steal,

NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO CHEAT OR LIE OR STEAL,

Or exploit the labor of another!

OR EXPLOIT THE LABOR OF ANOTHER!

 

While we are not equal…

WHILE WE ARE NOT EQUAL…

No one is inferior!

NO ONE IS INFERIOR!

All can be taught, and everyone can learn!

ALL CAN BE TAUGHT, AND EVERYONE CAN LEARN!

The divine light in all can be honored.

THE DIVINE LIGHT IN ALL CAN BE HONORED.

We have to learn from each other.

WE HAVE TO LEARN FROM EACH OTHER.

We’re in the same lifeboat together!

WE’RE IN THE SAME LIFEBOAT TOGETHER!

 

From all, according to their abilities;

FROM ALL, ACCORDING TO THEIR ABILITIES;

To all, according to their needs!

TO ALL, ACCORDING TO THEIR NEEDS!

Marx said that.

MARX SAID THAT.

Not Groucho, but Karl.

NOT GROUCHO, BUT KARL.

 

The problem is…

THE PROBLEM IS…

Who will determine the need?

WHO WILL DETERMINE THE NEED?

That has always been a problem. …

THAT HAS ALWAYS BEEN A PROBLEM. …

Where to draw the line. …

WHERE TO DRAW THE LINE. …

Who will judge the judges?

WHO WILL JUDGE THE JUDGES?

Even the Romans said so!

EVEN THE ROMANS SAID SO!

 

This is where…

THIS IS WHERE…

Humility comes in. …

HUMILITY COMES IN. …

This is where…

THIS IS WHERE…

Reverence for life

REVERENCE FOR LIFE

And Truth

AND TRUTH

Comes in. …

COMES IN. …

This is where

THIS IS WHERE

We reach for our highest selves!

WE REACH FOR OUR HIGHEST SELVES!

Because the stakes are monumental!

BECAUSE THE STAKES ARE MONUMENTAL!

 

We are star-beings in the making

WE ARE STAR-BEINGS IN THE MAKING

Of a glorious universe–

OF A GLORIOUS UNIVERSE–

Unfolding, ever evolving…

UNFOLDING, EVER EVOLVING…

A hymnal of Creation–

A HYMNAL OF CREATION–

Forging the world to come

FORGING THE WORLD TO COME.

 

“Every atom belonging to me,

EVERY ATOM BELONGING TO ME,

As good belongs to you.

AS GOOD BELONGS TO YOU.”

Whitman said that.

WHITMAN SAID THAT.

And he was right.

AND HE WAS RIGHT.

We are parnters in creation.

WE ARE PARNTERS IN CREATION

With Creation itself

WITH CREATION ITSELF.

We just said that.

WE JUST SAID THAT.

 

And we say loud and clear

AND WE SAY LOUD AND CLEAR:

We demand the right

WE DEMAND THE RIGHT

To occupy our lives;

TO OCCUPY OUR LIVES;

To care for our planet-mother;

TO CARE FOR OUR PLANET-MOTHER;

And to care for one another

AND TO CARE FOR ONE ANOTHER.

To nurture the best that is in us,

TO NURTURE THE BEST THAT IS IN US,

And the best that is yet to be

AND THE BEST THAT IS YET TO BE.

 

We want no Lords and Ladies

WE WANT NO LORDS AND LADIES

Telling us how to live!

TELLING US HOW TO LIVE!

Striving, ever striving,

STRIVING, EVER STRIVING,

To reach for the stars with compassion,

TO REACH FOR THE STARS WITH COMPASSION,

With a song of liberty;

WITH A SONG OF LIBERTY;

Growing in knowledge and wisdom,

GROWING IN KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM,

With hearts that are brave and free

WITH HEARTS THAT ARE BRAVE AND FREE.

 

Let us be those people!

LET US BE THOSE PEOPLE!

Let us be such people!

LET US BE SUCH PEOPLE!

We are becoming such people!

WE ARE BECOMING SUCH PEOPLE!

Now we are the people!

NOW WE ARE THE PEOPLE!

We, the People!

WE, THE PEOPLE!

We, the People!

WE, THE PEOPLE!

We, the People!

WE, THE PEOPLE!

 

Gary Corseri has published and posted prose, poems and dramas at CounterPunch and hundreds of other sites and periodicals worldwide. A professor and editor, he has published novels and poetry collections, performed at the Carter Presidential Library, and had his dramas produced on Atlanta-PBS and elsewhere. He can be contacted at gary_corseri@comcast.net or garyscorseri@gmail.com.

 

Oh Euro, My Euro
by MICHAEL SILVERSTEIN

         (With apologies to Walt Whitman)

Oh euro, my euro, ’twas said your time had come,
You’d withstood all the early flack, your doubters seemed undone;
With francs a ghost, with liras toast, and deutschmarks just a mem’ry,
Around the globe, your worth was sold, in circles monetary.
But now, alas, that time has past,
A new day has arrived,
With traders asking could it be
The euro won’t survive?

Oh euro, once mighty, the money pack outpaced,
You made Dutch guilders disappear, pesetas you replaced;
With you baguettes were freely bought, with you paella ordered,
‘Twas heralded no exchange rates, a Europe without borders.
Good euro, hope bringer
Have you become unsound?
You’re even trading lower now
Than the beat up British pound!

The euro keeps on falling, it cannot find its legs,
Its strength has got so faded that it breaks through all the pegs;
The thinking here is changing fast,
As the richer lands gets rolled,
Could this have been a pretty dream,
One greatly oversold?

Michael Silverstein writes at wallstreetpoet.com.

 

Beat! Beat! Drums!
by WALT WHITMAN

BEAT! beat! drums!—Blow! bugles! blow!
Through the windows—through doors—burst like a ruthless force,
Into the solemn church, and scatter the congregation;
Into the school where the scholar is studying;
Leave not the bridegroom quiet—no happiness must he have now with his bride;
Nor the peaceful farmer any peace, plowing his field or gathering his grain;
So fierce you whirr and pound, you drums—so shrill you bugles blow.

Beat! beat! drums!—Blow! bugles! blow!
Over the traffic of cities—over the rumble of wheels in the streets:
Are beds prepared for sleepers at night in the houses? No sleepers must sleep in those
beds;
No bargainers’ bargains by day—no brokers or speculators—Would they
continue?
Would the talkers be talking? would the singer attempt to sing?
Would the lawyer rise in the court to state his case before the judge?
Then rattle quicker, heavier drums—you bugles wilder blow.

Beat! beat! drums!—Blow! bugles! blow!
Make no parley—stop for no expostulation;
Mind not the timid—mind not the weeper or prayer;
Mind not the old man beseeching the young man;
Let not the child’s voice be heard, nor the mother’s entreaties;
Make even the trestles to shake the dead, where they lie awaiting the hearses,
So strong you thump, O terrible drums—so loud you bugles blow.

(Reprinted by permission of the author.)

Editorial Note: (Please Read Closely Before Submitting)

To submit to Poets’ Basement, send an e-mail to CounterPunch’s poetry editor, Marc Beaudin at counterpunchpoetry@gmail.com with your name, the titles being submitted, and your website url or e-mail address (if you’d like this to appear with your work).  Also indicate whether or not your poems have been previously published and where.  For translations, include poem in original language and documentation of granted reprint/translation rights.  Attach up to 5 poems and a short bio, written in 3rd person, as a single Word Document (.doc or .rtf attachments only; no .docx).  Expect a response within one month (occasionally longer during periods of heavy submissions).

Poems accepted for online publication will be considered for possible inclusion of an upcoming print anthology.

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