Poems for April 20: Sarah Menefee, Lew Rosenbaum, Jack Hirschman — Food for Thought

Fists on Fire: Poetry from the Heart of the Revolution

Sarah Menefee is a frequent poetry contributor to the People's Tribune

why did the wild pink break

by Sarah Menefee

why did the wild pink break
oh why did it break?

my young rap musician friend
is saying as we walk up dark Sansome St
after work: I have to remind myself to keep it simple stupid:
in relation to his art: yes I say
it’s ok to repeat whatever the heart needs to keep saying
as long as the slaughters keep on
we’ll keep this simple too
a brass band marched down Market in all the thousands of protesters playing Bella Ciao
we so don’t desire this endless pain inflicted on and on

this sea of blood
we join in saying: not in our name
oh why did the wild pink break?
it is my child the world breaks for profit
one or a stadium or city of them: our families

Sarah Menefee's Human Star, published by Heretical Texts

with their beautiful faces
it’s the same heartbreak
all around the world
there is no way to be simple enought but just to cry it out
or put our bodies on the line
and lay our hearts down there:
how do we say it in our American tongue?
not in our name!

[From her Curbstone Press author web page:Born in Chicago in 1946, Sarah Menefee has been writing poetry for close to thirty years and has been published widely in journals and magazines such as The American Review, Compages, The Baltimore Sun, People’s Tribune, and Legumes. As a community activist, she worked closely with the Union of Left Writers, the Union of the Homeless in San Francisco, and Food Not Bombs. In 1991, Sarah Menefee was arrested for giving food to the poor “without permit,” a case that was eventually thrown out of court. (see poem below).  She currently resides in San Francisco.Her Curbstone Press titles are i’m not thousandfurs and The Blood About the HeartFists on Fire is the People’s Tribune site of poetry of resistance and social transformation, human and planetary liberation.]


Gene Therapy by Lew Rosenbaum

Star Light Star Bright

First gene I see tonight

Patent it I may

Profit from it I must

Call it Star Link

Damn the allergens

Torpedo ahead into the toxic new world order

Where we control the

Beautiful for spacious skies

And amber waves

of sterile maize

Building majestic monetary mountains

I think I shall never see

A poem lovely as

My privatized DNA

Now I lay me down to sleep

I pray the Lord my soul to keep me

Free from contaminants

Showering the world from

Star Link

[Lew Rosenbaum edits this blog, Chicago Labor & Arts Notes and currently writes on education issues for the People’s Tribune.]


A Woman Gives Food by Jack Hirschman

for Sarah Menefee

A woman gives food to a hungry hand.
The law says that it is contraband.
That law must fall, must lose its teeth,
must gum along the desolate streets
and come to the line where blessed soup
is smuggled in between the lips,
and know subversion for what it really is
and how this mean-lawed land is dead without it.

From Endless Threshold (Willimantic, CT: Curbstone Press, 1992)

Read more about Jack Hirschman here:


An Auto/Biographical Sketch of Jack Hirschman


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