b.z. niditch | the meetings


I was the kid
in the back row
always late for his sax
and string lessons
taking it on the chin,
reading Lermontov
and Lukacs
listening to old legends
from the “The Rebel Girl”
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn
who lead silk strikes
from the International
Workers of the World,
hearing Angela Davis
and Paul Robeson,
the great actor
singing in German
Finnish, French,
Danish and Yiddish,
watching petitions
being signed
and the Left
being maligned,
and there were spies
who took our names
for the Un American
political games,
many fled abroad
being called Pink
or Red
or sought God
for their only hope,
anything to escape
McCarthy’s tightrope,
some turned away
or to the Pope,
Hollywood was
under the attacks
and some in Variety
called union leaders
and the unemployed,
Party hacks,
some were overwrought
choosing exile
others were taught
by Jung or Freud’s style
spending their time
out of the rank and file,
others ended their life
by suicide and shame
turning in others
not accepting any strife
or social blame,
the kid in the back
studied and music
classic and jazz,
and reading the critics
Habermas and Lukacs.

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