Poems for April 30: Tomorrow is May Day

[Celebrate May Day with Jack Hirschman, a poet unlike any other, one of America’s foremost poets, a poet and revolutionary committed to the word and the deed of social transformation. [This post was originally published in advance of Jack’s visit to Chicago in 2010.  The poem is just as relevant in 2017, which is one way of saying Jack’s always with us, always visiting us with his words.]

  1. Jack is the subject of a biographical film documentary called Red Poet which [was] screened at Mess Hall, 6932 N. Glenwood, Sunday May 2, 2010, 7:30 pm.
  2. Jack [did]appear in person at Jane Addams Hull-House, 800 S. Halsted, along with Kevin Coval and outstanding poets from the Louder than a Bomb Chicago youth poetry festival. This [was] Monday, May 3, 2010 at 7:30 pm.
  3. Jack Hirschman [did] appear in person at Mess Hall at 6932 N. Glenwood at 7:30 pm, [and read] from his work and discuss[ed] his poetry and politics.

Jack Hirschman is a recent poet laureate of San Francisco, an author of more than 50 books of poetry, translator from 8 languages, editor of the remarkable collection of essays on politics and art, Art on the Line.

Jack Hirschman‘s visit to Chicago [was] rare opportunity, not one to miss at any time, but even more significant in tandem with this very important May Day.]


MAYDAY 2008 by Jack Hirschman

On May Day, tomorrow, sometime in the course of the day,
I’ll take your hand, sister, I’ll take your hand, brother, and
lift our arms all together in honor of the workers’ holiday,

and the Internationale we’ll be singing tomorrow will also
remember that today Shitler blew his brains out 63 years ago
like that criminal in the White House should at any moment,

and that today 33 years ago the great people of Vietnam won
an unforgettable victory for socialism over the same brutal
machine that beat Rodney King of Los Angeles 17 years ago

and set off actions in states like Washington, Nevada, Illinois
because the hunger for justice that’s coming, that’s already
manifesting for food in Haiti, Egypt, Nicaragua, Pakistan,

the hunger that’s joined to the will of that deathless invincible
Union of the spirit of revolution, that hunger which has already
given birth to fourteen years of Mayan resistance and which

defies the mass production of outright lies about how delicious
life tastes with individual choices and forgets about the children
dropping dead of starvation, even here in the other America—

O if ever there was a time to get off the left side of our asses and
go to the bottom of the pot, and see that it’s empty and the kids
needs food. O if ever there was need for Revolution, it’s now

—Jack Hirschman

[note that “that criminal in the white house” referred to above is a reference to George Bush]


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