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Monday, May 13, 2024


by Jerry Krajnak

David Shapiro, Who Gained Fame in Poetry and Protest, Dies at 77: A renowned member of the New York School of poets, he also found accidental notoriety when he was photographed during the 1968 uprising at Columbia University... Mr. Shapiro was just weeks from graduating when another student photographed him when the office of the university’s president, Grayson Kirk, in Low Library was occupied. Shown seated in a high-backed chair behind the administrator’s paper-strewn desk, Mr. Shapiro captured the spirit of a moment, casually smoking one of Mr. Kirk’s cigars while wearing sunglasses and a defiant smirk. —The New York Times, May 10, 2024

They locked us out of Schofield Hall,
police demanded we disperse,
warned us we disturbed the peace,
endangered safety, led us away;
meanwhile, eight thousand miles away,
bamboo huts were being torched,
buffaloes and chickens shot,
farmers’ daughters raped,
and military chiefs kept score
with their bloody body counts
repeated nightly on channel 13
before the local weather.
I slowly rock on a cabin porch,
a snoring dog at my feet,
listen as a mockingbird calls
from far across the pond.
Another responds, so near to us
that we both flinch, get up
and enter the cabin, turn on the news,
hear about Gaza, Ukraine.
We watch as New York tents get smashed,
see ziptied children led away.
I join them, rise with my gray hair
in solidarity.

Author’s Note: I was in college in Eau Claire, Wisconsin in 1968. The events were not as dramatic for us as they were for Columbia students either then or now, but they are all true. Also, I thank the spirit of Sylvia Plath for help with the penultimate line.

Jerry Krajnak is a Vietnam veteran who later survived forty years in public school classrooms. A Pushcart nominee, his recent work appears in The New Verse News, Autumn Sky Poetry, One Art, Star 82 Review, Rat's Ass Review, and other journals.