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Thursday, August 04, 2011


by Martin Willitts Jr

He stood in torrential rain so child labor could end.
He was drenched by bully clubs
trying to smack sense into him
so we would have reasonable work hours.
He was arrested for singing in the downcast
with Woody Guthrie, for decent wages.
He was shot at. His windows broken like his bones.
He was a Quaker. He knew wrong was wrong.
He knew the deluge of attacks proceeded justice.
It was simple. All the forecasts of repercussions,
all the accusations drenching him,
could not stop him from singing protest.
Breaking his jaw did not stop him.
They tried to drag his memory into prison.
It did not work. They tried to break him.
It did not work. They blackballed him.
He sang louder, stronger, until things got better.

Some things are better. He was a part of that.
Some things are receding ---
the waitress surviving on tips;
the migrant picking for less than minimum wages;
politicians blame the Union person
for the economic downturn.

My grandfather’s ghost is still picketing and striking.
His voice is in the thunderstorm.
No one can hit Truth over the head
to stop it from becoming the Truth.
Silence is what happens when nothing is done.
Singing is when the heart knows things are wrong
and know something needs to be done.

Me; I am singing.

Martin Willitts Jr
's recent poems appeared in Naugatuck River Review, MiPOesias, Flutter,, Muse Café, and Caper Journal. He was recently nominated for two Best of The Net awards and his 5th Pushcart award. He has new chapbooks: The Girl Who Sang Forth Horses (Pudding House Publications, 2010), Van Gogh’s Sunflowers for Cezanne (Finishing Line Press, 2010), True Simplicity (Poets Wear Prada Press, 2011), My Heart Is Seven Wild Swans Lifting (Slow Trains, 2011), Why Women Are A Ribbon Around A Bomb (Last Automat, 2011), and Art Is Always an Impression of What an Artist Sees (Muse Café, 2011).