Lenore Weiss

The revolution was around the corner
every weekend a different demonstration
chanting along Central Park down Fifth Avenue
past police barricades.
Cops on horses ready to charge.
In Union Square, we collected signatures to end the war,
for equal housing, open admissions,
to free all political prisoners and to end apartheid,
afternoons on the phone hoping for endorsements
from luminaries like Noam Chomsky and James Baldwin,
Bella Abzug and Shirley Chisholm
raising money to take out a quarter-page ad
in the Sunday New York Times.
Luis Talamantez was released on parole.
Aretha offered to pay Angela’s bail.
We built alliances
and deferred ideological disagreements
until a new steering committee
issued statements
mimeograph machines spinning wet blankets of black ink
as we listened to Pete Seeger and the Weavers,
Motown and Sly and the Family Stone.
We talked about moral integrity and commitment,
studied the books of Franz Fanon and Herbert Marcuse,
volumes by Marx and Engels I never could finish,
W.E.B DuBois.
There was The People’s History.
Walter Lowenfels said the revolution is to be human.
Gill-Scott Heron said it wouldn’t be televised.
Muriel Rukeyser crumpled a piece of paper in her hand
and dropped it to the floor.
She asked our poetry class at the City College of New York
to write what had just happened.

Lenore Weiss’ poetry collections form a trilogy about love, loss, and being mortal: “Cutting Down the Last Tree on Easter Island” (West End Press, 2012); “Two Places” (Kelsay Books, 2014) and “The Golem” (Hakodesh Word Press, 2017). Her most recent poetry chapbook is “From Malls to Museums” (Ethelzine, 2020). Alexandria Quarterly Press published her prize-winning flash fiction chapbook, “Holding on to the Fringes of Love.” She is a reader for the Mud Season Review and lives in Oakland, California, with Zebra the Brave and Granola the Shy.

Blog at