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Pulp Poetry

Scraps of fascination are the building blocks of an interesting life.


Let America Be America Again

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

- Langston Hughes, Let America Be America Again
"Taxes are what we pay for civilized society."
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Republican, Supreme Court Justice, Union officer in the Civil War. Upon his death (two days shy of 94) he left a portion of his estate to the United States government.

In Kansas, 100 Years Ago Today

Men of Kansas vote in favor of granting the right to vote to women.

In Arizona, 100 Years Ago Today

The men of Arizona, which became a state in the same year, grant the right to vote to women.

Although a hot topic while the state constitution was being formed, a conservative block in the senate, mostly consisting of Southerners, defeated all attempts to give women the vote in the state’s constitution.

Just a few months later, Arizona men voted and changed that short sighted lack of compassion and freedom.

In Oregon, 100 Years Ago Today

With the right to vote on the Oregonian ballot for the sixth, and final time, most women are granted the right to vote.

Statutes persisted preventing first-generation Asians (male and female) from becoming citizens and therefore voting, and Native American women are also barred from voting, except those married to white men.

Too Big to Jail

"And maybe officials are right to be afraid [to take tough action], given the massive size of the banks in question relative to the economy. In fact, those banks are bigger now than they were before the crisis, and, as James Kwak and I documented at length in our book 13 Bankers, they are much larger than they were 20 years ago.”

Let Us Build A New Nation

"Let’s build a government that serves the interest of property owners. We’ll fight on their behalf against their oppressors, for promises of trinkets, fine speeches, and honest work. One that keeps all women, all non-whites, and poor whites outside the power structure as much as possible…."

"Martin Luther King himself became more and more concerned about problems untouched by civil rights laws-problems coming out of poverty. In the spring of 1968, he began speaking out, against the advice of some Negro leaders who feared losing friends in Washington, against the war in Vietnam…

King now became a chief target of the FBI, which tapped his private phone conversations, sent him fake letters, threatened him, blackmailed him, and even suggested once in an anonymous letter that he commit suicide. FBI internal memos discussed finding a black leader to replace King. As a Senate report on the FBI said in 1976, the FBI tried “to destroy Dr. Martin Luther King.”"
- Howard Zinn, “Or Does it Explode?” A People’s History of the United States. No assassin was ever conclusively caught. James Earl Ray, the man who went to prison for the assassination, fought the rest of his life for a retrial, at the end with the support of the King family. Whether or not the government was involved in his assassination, it is clear that as soon as King shifted his focus from civil rights to poverty, he was considered an enemy of the state.

(Source: historyisaweapon.com)

"… it’s inevitable that we’ve got to bring out the question of the tragic mix-up in priorities. We are spending all of this money for death and destruction, and not nearly enough money for life and constructive development… when the guns of war become a national obsession, social needs inevitably suffer."
- Martin Luther King, Jr, Spring 1968. King began to realize that civil rights laws could only do so much. The true threat to black oppression was the systemic poverty that the Civil Rights laws recently passed would have no effect on. Friends close to him advised against speaking out against it since he would lose allies in Washington. He was assassinated by an unknown marksman on April 6th.