Wednesday, January 12, 2022

From the Sidelines of a Coup Revisited—Murfin Verse

                                   Chicago Seed cover--imagining ourselves as revolutionaries. 

A few days after last year’s Capitol insurrection I wrote this.

From the Sidelines of a Coup

Time was long ago

            that I imagined myself sometimes

            on the barricades of some great General Strike

            turning the world upside down

            gleefully building that new society

            on the ashes of the old.

It was easy then to be a romantic revolutionary

            to imagine portrayal on some heroic poster  

            splashed in red and black.

Yet in fact I only marched, chanted

            and dodged the occasional baton

            or teargas cloud, 

            I came and went unarmed.

After Fred Hampton was perforated on his bed

            and students bled at Kent Stat

            my peeps on the Chicago Seed

            put a mop-head freak raising

            an AK-47 over his head

            in psychedelic color on the front page.

But no one I knew went out to buy one

            or to drill in their Dad’s old GI gear

            in the woods.

Time went on and I never abandoned dreams

            of a fairer world

            but put aside any fantasy

            that it could be won by force of arms.

Decades later that still holds true

            although I have made many

            compromises and accommodations.

Some might say I have gone soft, weak kneed,

            or just plain sold out. 

            Maybe yes, maybe no.

Now I watch other revolutionaries,

            White, not Red,

            storm the Capitol and make war

            on Democracy itself.

Like those old Catalonian anarchists

            I find myself to my astonishment

            called to defend a Republic.

I want to do my part.

But age, a treacherous heart,

            a pandemic, winter,

            and an accident of geography

            that has me far from the likely battle grounds

            have left me on the sidelines

            of maybe the greatest struggle

            of my lifetime.

All I seem to be able to do

            is spill some electronic ink

            that will be seen, at most,

            by a few hundred people.      

And it hardly seems enough.

Patrick Murfin

The Old Man in June 2020, seven months before the Insurrection.  I could turn out to carry a sign at Black Lives Matter protests and marches in McHenry County but sometimes couldn't keep up and was often gasping for breath after a few short blocks.  Today I can do less.  I'll still go out when I can but am not much use on the streets anymore.



  1. I am currently in FB jail so I can't respond there but please tell Ron Partridge the battle or the war won't be won in the courts or online. It will be won at the polling place.

  2. memory is the only revenge allowed the powerless