Volume 31, Number 1

Three wise men

Tonight the Capitol Rotunda’s shadow 
is casting shapes that remind me of old photos 
of that long dark line of Depression era dust storms 
crossing the Great Plains with a dust to choke the light  

If what’s inside the dome should now flicker out 
leaving us to stumble through the dark 
our lucidity adrift into some Tidal Basin of despond 
I have an antidote in the figures of three men: 
Howard Zinn
Daniel Ellsberg and Noam Chomsky 
their silhouette back lit by my own inner light 
appropriately kindled by them 

I stand here looking over the vast expanse
of the emptied mall 
straight up Capitol Hill 
until my pupils take in the full 
possible amplitude of something so small 
as reason’s cunning in the vast dark 
so that I am compelled to pull out their words 
and read them to the night 

Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it. 

We need the courage to face the truth about what we are doing in the world and act responsibly to change it.”

Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever.

—Jeremy Nathan Marks