Posted by: janetleigh | July 31, 2008

Shhh.. Tread Lightly, American Poets

Tread lightly, merkan
poet – dissident writing
make U terrorist

According to .gov-
make U red list or blue list
doomed American

You’re the Ages true
historian – speaking truth
to power always!

But only in the United States have I been told that “poetry doesn’t matter any more,” that “poetry is useless.” Only in the United States have I been asked by journalists, “Why can’t you poets just leave the politics out of it?” What a remarkably, stunningly illiterate question. The answer to the latter: “Because we are citizens of this country and of the world, and we are all in this world together.” The answer to the former declaration: “Because poetry has the ability to open people’s eyes and hearts, to change lives one life at a time.”
Sam Hamill


Walking Wounded American Rants —David L Young
Freedom to Write



  1. so sad isn’t it,, that with all of the real problems on which we could expend money and effort and time,, they choose something like dissident poetry to monitor???

    just want to let you know i am posting my new poetry on justpaisley…. now, and i sure would love it if you came over and had a look….

    So sad, so sad, yes. But we must continue to do what’s required of us during interesting times. I’ve been to your Just Paisley site and have left you comments on your more recent posts. But, Paisley, the link you provided takes the reader to a bogus advertisement page. Didn’t you post recently the change to your website addy which is minus the hyphen between “why” and “paisley?” One of the posts I commented on is the one with the picture of you when you were a teenager. You were a cute kid! :)

  2. What? Is this serious? Is there a link you can throw me to read more about this……I’m gobsmacked, glad to be English.

  3. Sorry, when I’ve quite finished jumping up and down, great response, Janet, great.

    Thank you so kindly, Jo! I’ve provided some links under the ku to get people started if the spirit moves them..:)

  4. Hi Janet,
    total agreement with Paisley!

    Thank you for featuring my poem “Mr Savage” on poetmeister for poets :D
    and wanted to let you know I saw your comment and *wave* on the link I have connected to my poem that directs readers to see the “rant”, I went back on it just now and surpise surprise it’s GONE, cheeky so and so’s, :-O, so I have removed that link and added another one, thanks for your support Janet, its really appriciated.
    Hope your well, take care :-D

    You’re very welcome, Stacey. I think Savage needs to see it and now he has a better chance.. yuk yuk. And yes, sometimes it is a small world – bumping into someone in the least likely places..;>

  5. Well, let’s live dangerously, lady. I wrote a poem this morning as a response to Rick Mobb’s latest painting and image prompt. Check it out.

    Avian Armor

    Doves of peace
    wear armor
    as stupid war dragons
    brimming with bellicose bumblers
    lurk malevolently,
    muscling aside the clouds,
    their turbines and props whirling
    like cries of the slain,
    like howling of behemoths,
    stifling birdsong warbling
    that should lace the sibilant

    Below even great stallions
    who should be
    are captured, broken, and harnessed,
    before they are painted in pitch,
    turned to wood,
    before their tender hooves
    are nailed to derricks and trolleys;
    steel trap doors are sunk
    into their backs and haunches,
    as thousands of them
    are pushed laboriously
    onto the plains of Payne,
    onward in battalions,
    ever forward
    toward those towering walls
    of Troy.

    There in the dawn’s shards,
    ramparts rise triumphant,
    the very walls cleaved
    and chopped out
    of forests deep;
    their heads shaved sharp,
    fat spears sprawling thick
    as far as the head
    could turn,
    pulpy golden brown innards
    dripping honey sap,
    swirling round
    tall shafts,
    Celtic strong,
    Ft. Apache dreams,
    Roman towers,
    stoic stockades and muddy moats
    blocking our way.

    Even the sea churns
    and boils thick spittle,
    rife with bobbing billions
    of angry heads—
    prehistoric fish, dolphins, sharks, and whales,
    eager to see,
    anxious to join in,
    more than ready to embrace
    amphibian morph dancing;
    swapping gills for lungs,
    fins for arms and legs,
    earth for water,
    rainbow scales for Kevlar—
    yes, volunteers and recruits,
    more fresh fodder
    for the stupidity—
    at the ready,
    to stand on new legs,
    to flex new muscle,
    to learn the use
    of weapons,
    to fight the New Battle;
    duly registered, fully trained
    and thrust into the maw of Morpheus—
    becoming berserker strikers,
    with the bloodlust upon them,
    needing to spill blood,
    to bathe in the blood
    of others,
    to cover their faces red,
    to spew the desert dust wet
    with the liqueur of life,
    raging out of control,
    ripping their own veins out
    like strings of gushing ivy
    torn off the walls of cathedrals,
    turning the very sky red
    and the moon magenta,
    as death finds new lovers.

    But even in the midst of the melee,
    hope hides its heart;
    even Gilgamesh admits
    it is time
    to call Ganymede
    and bid him not to tarry
    and be certain to carry
    the golden cup of the Gods;
    the damnit sky is mostly blue
    and all the cumulus
    is crowded
    with angel’s eyes,
    as the veil flutters
    with the soft embrace
    of Spirit’s breath,
    and portals are yawning
    open, as hordes of white wings
    flutter frantically,
    counting the dead,
    selecting the survivors
    and patiently planning
    the Restoration.

    Glenn A. Buttkus August 2008

    O, yes, you’re living dangerously in the face of the war machine, Glenn, with this superb rendering of the stark, stupefying images of death and destruction, entrails and agony. This conjured up images of the movie Troy and Private Ryan for some reason. Maybe because they’re the most recent slice & dice, shell & shock movies I’ve seen. Nevertheless, this is one very powerful poem, Glenn! Kudos!


    “as death finds new lovers.” Indeed.. ;>

  6. My goodness, my site, FEEL FREE TO READ, must be in the top ten Red list. I just posted 97 anti-war poems, including Wilfred Owen, Walt Whitman, and me, with tons of Brian Turner. I will post your latest poetic rant too, just as soon as I get finished with this comment. I wonder when the two lunkheads in black suits will show up at my door, wearing no eyes dark sunglasses, carrying briefcases, with handguns tucked under their arms, not smiling. I wonder if Sherman Alexie would be too busy to represent me at the trial?


    I seem to have made comments about this somewhere, Glenn. One your blog, perhaps?

  7. Your poem looks sterling on FFTR, Janet. I found some great images to accompany it. Christ, this is still America, enit? J. Edgar is deceased, and now can wear his dresses daily. Nixon is deceased. Joe McCarthy is deceased. Unfortunately, Dick Cheney and Junior Bush still reign supreme. Elect Obama, you nation of fools. Stay away from 4 more years of the Bush wars under McCain!


  8. interesting to see this, thanks

    Thank you, Dean Baker. It’s nice of you to come by and say so..:)

  9. Well Janet, you already know what I think of our government with the last poem I wrote. lol
    This just makes me want to write more!

    And why is it we don’t value poetry in this country? I’ll never understand it. Actually, I think it is reading and writing in general, has no value in this country!

    Yes, my fellow poet-activist, I do!

    Although I’m not sure I agree with the premise poetry has no value in the U.S., White Rose. I guess it might be true for a segment of our population, but it seems the younger generation is getting more involved and my generation has always been interested, so, maybe it’s just an untrue meme making its way through the labyrinth of the internet’s mind? I dunno, really.

    Thanks so much for coming by!

  10. biting poem. excellent “collage-theme” post.

    Thank you!

  11. Why write? Because we have to stop the world from going to sleep!

    A poet’s work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep. – Salman Rushdie

    and because ..

    Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history. – Plato

    and because…

    Poetry is all that is worth remembering in life. – William Hazlitt

    and because…

    Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn. – Thomas Gray

    and…. (I could go on and on…. but I’m preaching to the choir! In any case…write on, ye philosophers…

    “The true philosopher and the true poet are one, and a beauty, which is truth, and a truth, which is beauty, is the aim of both.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

    “No man was ever yet a great poet, without being at the same time a profound philosopher. For poetry is the blossom and the fragrancy of all human knowledge, human thoughts, human passions, emotions, language.”
    ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

    (Unfortunately, I could not find the one quote that first came to my mind…something about there being not a single thing in life without poetry in it.)

    These quotes are GRAND, Sanjeev! THANK YOU?! I’m going to put these up on my other poetry site, Poetmeister 4 Poets!, that is, if it’s alright with you, dear friend! I’m so glad to see you here again! – how are you doing these days?

  12. Surely, you can use them. Its not something I said anyways. I use quotes as a substitute for any wit on my own part. :) (Maugham. His exact words – “The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit.”)

    All I had to do here was an easy google-search for “quotes poetry”and then ctrl-c, ctrl-v. :)

    I have not written much poetry lately. Tried my hand at a fiction writing workshop this summer though, which was new and exciting. Am between jobs (reduction in force at my last job) and so have lots of time on my hands, which I wish I would put to better use. I’m sure there are thousands of inspirational quotes out there that talk about making the most of life.

    The pen is mightier than the sword, they say…but I wish words had more power. :)

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