Peter White Shares a Trio of Poems

Peter White is a long time activist in NH and a member of NH Independent Voters.

th_022Peter told me that he has been writing political poetry for a few years now and hopes “…to turn it into protest songs for the times!”

The first poem is new for P4P readers this year. You may remember the two poems that follow from last year.

 

***

INDEPENDENT VOTERS ARE HERE TO STAY!

Hello everyone we’ve come to say

Independent Voters are here to stay!

Get up off your couches and join our way

And together for our Nation we will save the day!

 

We’re sick of the baloney the two Parties feed us

While their bosses on Wall Street are stealing with no fuss!

Our government is corrupt and a real mess

It is putting our democracy to the test.

 

We the People must rise up and start to lead

To demand what is right and what we really need:

Representatives that work for us instead of corporate greed

Who refuse PAC money, have integrity, and know how to read!

 

The US Constitution is what they should know

And the Bill of Rights is what makes our Country glow.

Open primaries are needed so our movement will grow

Until the PEOPLE SHALL RULE instead of the dough!

***

BANK BAILOUT BLUES

by Peter White

Chorus: I’ve got the bank bailout blues, I’ve got the bank bailout blues, those big bad bank bailout blues, too big to fail bailout blues.

 

Step right up if you’re rich and greedy

The government will treat you like you’re needy.

If you own a big bank and want more money

The politicians will treat you right, honey!

(chorus)

If you need some health care you’ve got lots to pay

Because big pharma and insurance crooks got more say.

We need Medicare for ALL to make the system right

And We the People we got the might!

(chorus)

Obama said he would bring us change

But he and the Democrats are more of the same;

They keep waging war for Empire to help the rich

All that killing for greed is such a b b b shame!

(chorus)

Now we got Trump to lead the way

And those billionaires got even MORE say!

The Republicans are in charge of Congress now

And it’s time for We the People to give them Hell!

(chorus)

Those bailouts for Wall Street were a bunch of baloney

To say that it helped Main Street is a story that’s phony!

I’ve got the bank bailout blues and they won’t go away

Until the 99% lead the way!

(chorus)

POWER TO THE PEOPLE RIGHT ON!    (3 times)

***

WHY I OCCUPY 

Why I occupy

Let me tell you why

I am moved to really try

By a love force I cannot deny!

 

Every day I’m glad to be here

To see all the beauty and cheer

Unfortunately I can also see clear

And know that the End Game is near.

 

The Occupy movement gives me hope

That We the People will stop being a dope!

Humane change is possible if we cope

With politicians who are as slippery as soap.

 

The two Parties are a corrupt duopoly

They help the rich control their plutocracy

We cannot have a democracy

If more people are into a jockocracy!

 

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer

They get higher and mightier as we go lower.

Most elected Democrats and Republicans cower

To the ruling elite who have economic power.

 

We can teach the world to sing

In imperfect but loving harmony

With peace on earth being our symphony

Helping our neighbors in our community.

 

We each have a role to play

We have the freedom to have our say

We can live in the light and lead the way

To occupy our government and overcome some day!

 

2018 National Poetry Month Poster

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The Poetry Hunt by Caroline Donnola

 

Roque Dalton, a renown poet from El Salvador (1935-1975) said in his poem titled “Like You,”  “I believe the world is beautiful and that poetry, like bread, is for everyone.”  (Jessie Fields submitted the full poem for your blog a few years ago.)  It turns out that hundreds of well-known poets, and probably thousands of lesser known ones, have written 12495942_10207847865062060_3320784175264629657_opoems about poetry.  This is fascinating to me because poetry is often seen as esoteric or alien or worse.  But what would the world be like if everyone was encouraged to write and read poetry?  Why is it a valuable activity?  What is it about writing poetry that encourages philosophizing?  These are questions that interest me.  During the past year I have written several poems that explore the activity of writing poetry.  Here is one.

 

The Poetry Hunt

 

The right word,
The best word,

The heartfelt word—
We poets hunt,
And then we hunt some more.
Should it be beacon or fire?
Passionate
Amorous
Or simply desire?
And if the shoe fits,
Must we wear it?
Or should our foot be handsomely shod?
No poet is an island.
We are weaving around and about
In all the world’s history,
In a dance with every poet we ever loved.
We are part of the main.
We have Dickinson’s passion
Donne’s power
Shakespeare’s breadth
Langston’s pain
Edna’s sensuality
Roque’s love.

The right word,
The best word
The heartfelt word—

And then all the words

Get flung together, conjuring
Longing
Remembrance
Newness
Joy
Rage
Comfort
Unity
As we join together
In our quest to cherish
Each other’s poetry.
The chance to be together
In a world we’ve created
From dust and air
From history, imagination
And yes, from Words.
Writing poetry

Is like making soup—
We swish together
the basic ingredients
Then toss in a pinch of
The unknown-
Our wishes, hopes
Secrets and dreams.
And then, there it is
Like a miracle—
Words that have become a poem,
And that poem
Becomes part
Of something wonderful,

A world that is filled

With our heartfelt words

Because poetry

Is spilling out of everyone

Every day

Even on the days we forget to

Say it out loud.

 

2018 National Poetry Month Poster

Politics for the People Celebrates National Poetry Month

2018 National Poetry Month Poster

April is National Poetry Month and over the next week, we will be celebrating the role of political poetry in our lives.  Please send me your favorite political poem—and that might be a poem you have written—to be included in our celebration. [You can submit your selection to me at cathy.stewart5@gmail.com.]

Today, we’ll kick off with a poem by Pablo Neruda.  I love Neruda’s work and have since I read my first Neruda poem in high school.  Recently, a friend shared “Keeping Quiet/A callarse” with me, a beautiful contemplation that I had never read.

neruda

 

Keeping Quiet / A callarse

Now we will all count to twelve
and we will all keep still.

This one time upon the earth,
let’s not speak any language,
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be a delicious moment,
without hurry, without locomotives,
all of us would be together
in a sudden uneasiness.

The fisherman in the cold sea
would do no harm to the whales
and the peasant gathering salt
would look at his torn hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars of gas, wars of fire,
victories without survivors,
would put on clean clothing
and would walk alongside their brothers
in the shade, without doing a thing.

What I want shouldn’t be confused
with final inactivity:
life alone is what matters,
I want nothing to do with death.

If we weren’t unanimous
about keeping our lives so much in motion,
if we could perhaps do nothing for once,
perhaps a great silence would interrupt this sadness,
this never understanding ourselves
and threatening ourselves with death,
perhaps the earth is teaching us
when everything seems to be dead
and everything is alive.

Now I will count to twelve
and you keep quiet and I’ll go.

-By Pablo Neruda

-from Full Woman, Fleshy Apple, Hot Moon
-English translation by Stephen Mitchell

 

Reminder:

Secrets of Mary Bowser Bk Cover

The Secrets of Mary Bowser is our new Politics for the People Book Club selection.  Hope you will pick up your copy of the book today. 

We will be talking with author Lois Leveen on Sunday, June 3rd at 7 pm EST.

 

A Poem and A Song

Today we wrap our celebration of National Poetry Month with two selections: a poem chosen by Alice Rydel and an original song by Joe Pickering, Jr.

Alice-pic-Florida

In selecting Before the Scales, Tomorrow, Alice shares:

Here’s to memories, friendships, audaciousness, love, activism, prickliness, differences, agreements, forward-thinkingness, organizing, fighting for a world of humanity in such an inhumane time.”


Before the Scales, Tomorrow

By: Otto Rene Castillo

And when the enthusiastic
story of our time
is told,
who are yet to be born
but announce themselves
with more generous face,
we will come out ahead
–those who have suffered most from it.

And that
being ahead of your time
means much suffering from it.
But it’s beautiful to love the world
with eyes
that have not yet
been born.

And splendid
to know yourself victorious
when all around you
it’s all still so cold,
so dark.

Alice Rydel is a builder of the All Stars Project’s Castillo Theatre and long-time activist with the independent political community.

***

Joe Pickering, Jr. shares his original Song, More American Then Plymouth Rock.

Give a listen, and the full lyrics are below.

MORE AMERICAN  THAN  PLYMOUTH ROCK

CHORUS

MORE AMERICAN  THAN  PLYMOUTH ROCK
THE STATUE OF LIBERTY CRIES  FOR NEW YORK
MILLIONS FIRST CAME ASHORE TO BE FREE
NOW NEW YORK’S JAILED IN A CLOSED PRIMARY 

VOTERS MUST CHOSE FROM THE PARTY SELECTION 
PARTY CANDIDATES FOR THE PARTYS PROTECTION
SAVE AMERICA SENATOR SCHUMER ONCE WROTE
SAVE NEW YORK FIRST ! LET INDEPENDENTS VOTE !

REPEAT CHORUS

END THE PARTISAN PRMARY SCHUMER PROPOSED
YEARS LATER, THEIR PRIMARY REMAINS CLOSED
POLITICIANS HEED THE STATUE OF LIBERTY
ALL YEARN TO BE FREE ! HELP VOTERS VOTE FREE

REPEAT CHORUS

INDEPENDENT VOTERS  STAND AND FIGHT 
HOUND THE LEGISLATURE ‘TIL THEY VOTE RIGHT
NEW YORKERS THE STATUE CRIES FOR THEE
DRY HER TEARS DEMAND THE OPEN PRIMARY

(repeat last line in last verse several times and fade.)

Joe Pickering Jr.. Songwriter  Harry King artist and producer  King of the Road Music BMI  C 2017

 Joe Pickering, Jr is the President of Mainers for Open Elections.

You can listen to More American Than Plymouth Rock here.
https://youtu.be/fCSQma7xz5c

 

***

OUR NEXT SELECTION:

 RATF**KED:

The True Story Behind The Secret Plan To Steal America’s Democracy 

By David Daley

Will kick off on Monday.

Our conference call with the author will be on Sunday, June 4th at 7 pm EST.

Roque Dalton

Nancy Hanks sent us two poems by Roque Dalton, the Salvadoran poet and revolutionary.

 

Nancy writes:

I love our struggle. The struggle of people — of all of us — for fairness and democracy, for bread and roses, for the power of the people. I love poetry. I love Roque Dalton’s poetry and appreciate him for bringing these human values together for us, and for putting his activity where his poetry was. I also love Roque Dalton because he was the progeny of American outlaws.”

 

roque dalton

Ars Poetica 1974

Poetry
pardon me for having helped you to understand
that you are not made of words alone.

 

And this second poem for all of the young people living through this awful and hopeful transition:”

 

You’ve Beaten Me

You’ve beaten me badly
your brutal fist in my face
(naked and chaste
as a flower where spring
dawns)

You’ve locked me up even more
with your furious eyes
my heart dying of cold
under the avalanche of hate

You’ve scorned my love
laughing at its small, bashful gift
not wanting to understand the labyrinths
of my tenderness

Now it’s my turn
turn of the offended after years of silence
in spite of the screams

Be quiet
be quiet

Listen

Nancy Hanks has been a longstanding builder of the independent movement. She is the founder of the Queens Independence Club.

Tomorrow we will be wrapping up our celebration of National Poetry month.  Stay tuned.

Patriot by Harry Kresky

Today’s poem was written by Harry Kresky

Harry Kresky at National Conference 2017

 

Patriot

Me?
An urban Jew –
A radical iconoclast.

An American.
Who can’t bear to see his country torn apart
By those who abandon us in pursuit of gotcha gold.

 

I wrote this poem in to response to the goings on in Washington since Trump was elected.  While I’m no fan of our President, I see the concerted efforts of the CIA, the liberal media and the Democratic Party to undo the result of an election as a threat to our democracy. The poem is also posted on my blog: poemsforfriends.wordpress.com

Harry Kresky is counsel to IndependentVoting.org and one of the country’s leading experts on nonpartisan primary reform and the legal issues facing independent voters.

 

A poem by Peter White

I wrote this some years ago but it’s still relevant!”

 

th_005

WHY I OCCUPY

Why I occupy
Let me tell you why
I am moved to really try
By a love force I cannot deny!

Every day I’m glad to be here
To see all the beauty and cheer
Unfortunately I can also see clear
And know that the End Game is near.

The Occupy movement gives me hope
That We the People will stop being a dope!
Humane change is possible if we cope
With politicians who are as slippery as soap.

The two Parties are a corrupt duopoly
They help the rich control their plutocracy
We cannot have a democracy
If more people are into a jockocracy!

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer
They get higher and mightier as we go lower.
Most elected Democrats and Republicans cower
To the ruling elite who have economic power.

We can teach the world to sing
In imperfect but loving harmony
With peace on earth being our symphony
Helping our neighbors in our community.

We each have a role to play
We have the freedom to have our say
We can live in the light and lead the way
To occupy our government and overcome some day!

Peter White is a long time activist in NH and a member of NH Independent Voters.

 

***

National Poetry Month 

At Politics for the People Continues

Do you have a favorite political poem that you would like to share? Is there an original poem you’ve written?  Please email me at cathy.stewart5@gmail.com with your suggestions for consideration.

A Poem by Dr. Fields

Today’s poem was written by Dr. Jessie Fields:

This is a poem I wrote in 2013 and was inspired to dedicate to a friend, Mary Fridley, who had just led a workshop on Love and Creativity.”

20170409_140710

Mary Fridley and Dr. Jessie Fields

Love and Friendship

Top notes sing, lift high and upright the fallen star

Of love and friendship wide, no meek prelude to hot embrace.

Romance praise of rhyme over rhyme far

Forever unceasing has not and never slackened the pace

Of violence, war and hate everywhere unwound.

Begin again, give what human life requires

To thrive in soul, health and beauty together bound

Workers, a community of people re-creating, a new becoming inspires.

Take down the old books, here is a muse to make

A new world. High history and love in the mad descending hours

Search and create all the ways a hard hand to shake

A cold eye to shine. Teach this love, it is ours.

Jump we humans quick to hate and no peace find

We forget our real preference is kind.

 

For Mary Fridley

July 13, 2013

 

~Dr. Jessie Fields is a physician practising in Harlem, a leader in the New York City Independence Clubs, and a board member of the All Stars Project and Open Primaries.

 

***

National Poetry Month 

At Politics for the People

Continues

Do you have a favorite political poem that you would like to share? Is there an original poem you’ve written?  Please email me at cathy.stewart5@gmail.com with your suggestions for consideration.

I, Too

MM at national conference

Michelle McCleary (second from left) with Danny Ortega (l); John Opdycke, President of Open Primaries; Kathy Fiess and Carrie Sackett at the National Conference of Independents, NYC, March 2017

Today’s selection was chosen for us by Michelle McCleary.

One of my favorite poems is Langston Hughes’  I, Too.  I love the simple defiance and hope of it.

***

2015-02-02-LangstonHughes

 

 

I, Too  

By Langston Hughes

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes.
But I laugh and eat well.
And grow strong

Tomorrow
I’ll be at the table
When company comes
Nobody’ll dare say to me
“Eat in the kitchen”
Then

Besides, they’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed.

I, too am America.

 

***

National Poetry Month 

At Politics for the People

Continues

Do you have a favorite political poem that you would like to share? Is there an original poem you’ve written?  Please email me at cathy.stewart5@gmail.com with your suggestions for consideration.

From the Highline

Schenck-High-Line-Art-President-2016_10_10-DSC_8054

Zoe Leonard’s installation along the High Line, Manhattan. Photo: Timothy Schenck

June Hirsh sent us today’s selection– a poem written by the artist, Zoe Leonard.

Here is what June wrote about the poem:

I saw this poem as an installation posted on the side of a large brick wall on the High Line – it was weather beaten and all tattered. When I first read this poem, I was very touched and also disturbed.  Disturbed when it seems every regressive policy, every cut back, every attack on human rights, growing hunger, the abandonment of poor and working people – nationally and internationally – is being blamed on Trump and on the Republican Party. Then I saw this poem was dated 1992. Bi-partisan complicity – history and food for thought. The time is ripe–build the independent political movement! “

IMG_9240

***

National Poetry Month 

At Politics for the People

Continues

Do you have a favorite political poem that you would like to share? Is there an original poem you’ve written?  Please email me at cathy.stewart5@gmail.com with your suggestions for consideration.

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