Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

For Alexander

London.

I wrote this poem for a birthday surprise last year that never happened. Surprised myself at not hearing back from him and wondering whether he had hated it that much I wondered what had happened. The next time he rang to discuss the state of the world and gossip, I asked him. He had no idea that any event had been planned and asked me to send him the poem. I did. The response was immediate. ‘A badge of honour, old tiger except for one sinister line.’ Those who knew him can guess that the reference was to his sexual prowess not politics. We spoke later and laughed. Now when I think back he was already ill and none of us  knew except for those who needed to for various reasons. Why didn’t he tell us? I have thought a great deal about this refusal to say farewell to friends who had known him for many decades. I think there were two reasons: politically he was not in a mood for farewells, writing to the last just as his inimitable father had once done; personally he knew that once friends know it alters the relationship. With the best will in the world it is difficult to concentrate on other matters once you know that a close friend is or might be terminally ill. He was right not to tell us. In a strange way this  hurriedly composed verse, designed to meet a deadline, turned out to be a farewell. I’m glad he read it. Am still reeling a bit from his death and will write about him at length at a later date.

For A.C. who will be

70 on 6 June 2011

 

Comrade, editor, friend:

Three score years and ten?

Nothing!

Not for our generation.

We remain communists,

We remain young.

Hurling our gauntlets scornfully,

Counterpunching our grim-faced rulers,

And those who defend them,

And those who fight their wars,

And those who fill their pockets with gold,

And those contrarians who write to please,

And those who never doubt

For fear it might provoke thought.

* * *

On California’s northern shores

In your rock-built refuge

You stand steadfast,

Weaving words without pause or rest,

Except (and why not)

To enjoy a glass of the local red,

And food lovingly prepared.

Other pleasures there may be too

But, perhaps, fewer than before,

That’s the price we pay,

Just as well.

Preserve your strength

To sound the bell:

As the old poet said

Better than serving in Heaven

Is to reign in Hell.

TARIQ ALI’s latest book “The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad’ was published by Verso.

More articles by:

Tariq Ali is the author of The Obama Syndrome (Verso).

May 22, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Broken Dreams and Lost Lives: Israel, Gaza and the Hamas Card
Kathy Kelly
Scourging Yemen
Andrew Levine
November’s “Revolution” Will Not Be Televised
Ted Rall
#MeToo is a Cultural Workaround to a Legal Failure
Gary Leupp
Question for Discussion: Is Russia an Adversary Nation?
Binoy Kampmark
Unsettling the Summits: John Bolton’s Libya Solution
Doug Johnson
As Andrea Horwath Surges, Undecided Voters Threaten to Upend Doug Ford’s Hopes in Canada’s Most Populated Province
Kenneth Surin
Malaysia’s Surprising Election Results
Dana Cook
Canada’s ‘Superwoman’: Margot Kidder
Dean Baker
The Trade Deficit With China: Up Sharply, for Those Who Care
John Feffer
Playing Trump for Peace How the Korean Peninsula Could Become a Bright Spot in a World Gone Mad
Peter Gelderloos
Decades in Prison for Protesting Trump?
Thomas Knapp
Yes, Virginia, There is a Deep State
Andrew Stewart
What the Providence Teachers’ Union Needs for a Win
Jimmy Centeno
Mexico’s First Presidential Debate: All against One
May 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Gina Haspell: She’s Certainly Qualified for the Job
Uri Avnery
The Day of Shame
Amitai Ben-Abba
Israel’s New Ideology of Genocide
Patrick Cockburn
Israel is at the Height of Its Power, But the Palestinians are Still There
Frank Stricker
Can We Finally Stop Worrying About Unemployment?
Binoy Kampmark
Royal Wedding Madness
Roy Morrison
Middle East War Clouds Gather
Edward Curtin
Gina Haspel and Pinocchio From Rome
Juana Carrasco Martin
The United States is a Country Addicted to Violence
Dean Baker
Wealth Inequality: It’s Not Clear What It Means
Robert Dodge
At the Brink of Nuclear War, Who Will Lead?
Vern Loomis
If I’m Lying, I’m Dying
Valerie Reynoso
How LBJ initiated the Military Coup in the Dominican Republic
Weekend Edition
May 18, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Donald, Vlad, and Bibi
Robert Fisk
How Long Will We Pretend Palestinians Aren’t People?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Wild at Heart: Keeping Up With Margie Kidder
Roger Harris
Venezuela on the Eve of Presidential Elections: The US Empire Isn’t Sitting by Idly
Michael Slager
Criminalizing Victims: the Fate of Honduran Refugees 
John Laforge
Don’t Call It an Explosion: Gaseous Ignition Events with Radioactive Waste
Carlo Filice
The First “Fake News” Story (or, What the Serpent Would Have Said)
Dave Lindorff
Israel Crosses a Line as IDF Snipers Murder Unarmed Protesters in the Ghetto of Gaza
Gary Leupp
The McCain Cult
Robert Fantina
What’s Wrong With the United States?
Jill Richardson
The Lesson I Learned Growing Up Jewish
David Orenstein
A Call to Secular Humanist Resistance
W. T. Whitney
The U.S. Role in Removing a Revolutionary and in Restoring War to Colombia
Rev. William Alberts
The Danger of Praying Truth to Power
Alan Macleod
A Primer on the Venezuelan Elections
John W. Whitehead
The Age of Petty Tyrannies
Franklin Lamb
Have Recent Events Sounded the Death Knell for Iran’s Regional Project?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail