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Wednesday, May 03, 2006


by Bill Costley

My short Glaswegian grandfather Francis
shoveled coal furiously in a steamer's hold
across the Atlantic to Boston & jumped ship
to stoke the Penny Ferry from Boston to Eastie.
With that money, he sent for his wife & 2 children:
Mary/Peg & my dad, Wee Willie Winkie w/bad eyes.
Francis was driven to seek U.S. citizenship in 1920
after U.S. Atty Gen. A. Mitchell Palmer, a Quaker,
hot to follow Wilson as president, raided anarchists;
his strategy failed; but frying Sacco & Vanzetti in '27
tapped & re-ignited that opportunistic political fuel.
Francis & his children became citizens; their 'illegality'
lasted just 5yrs, but shamed them for aye, exempting
Francis from an imperial war among rivals, seeding
itself w/anti-imperialism. I'm its late red fruit.

Bill Costley serves on the Steering Committee of the San Francisco chapter of the National Writers Union. The first twelve books of his epic-in progress The Cheni@d appear here in The New Verse News. Book XIII and XIV begin Volume Two here.