My friends got to the streets,
Raised fists and raged
Against the power of the gun
And the writ of lawyers and hoodlums.
They bombed the establishment
With hoarse voices shrapneled
And got their pictures on the front pages.
I sat in chairs nine to five (often more),
And got their goat
For not marching in the public rage:
There were mouths to feed
And bodies to be clothed.
Most of all they were souls to nourish
If their tomorrow was ever to arrive.
And they were not my progeny,
But of homes not so blest
With the cash school required.
And my friends who were marching
On the streets with rage
Came to power as the erstwhile
Public abominations crumbled.
They were heroes and scrambled
For the glitter of bureaus
And the glare of cameras,
And the hum of the presses and the air lanes.
Now, I still watch from the margins,
Though my job is not done yet
For the poor of the homeland
Who will not pass the entrance exams,
Nor win elections whose price tags spell murder.
Montage Vol. 11 • September 2008