Friday, May 19, 2023

The Old Radical—Murfin Verse Inspired by a Real Event

The young radical, 1970 with Carlos Cortez (center) and old Wobbly Hungarians, older than I am now and in better shape.

This was, as they say in the breathless movie trailer, inspired by true events  two years ago.

The Old Radical

Mid May 2021


Once the somewhat ragged beau ideal

            of the Red and Black menace,

            leather lung soapboxer,

            master of the streets,

            marcher of marchers,

            dodger of tear gas and billy clubs.


Now a wreck and relic

            half hearing aid deaf,

            spasming afib ticker,

            bad back, tricky ankle,

            and pre-replacement knee.


On a sunny, breezy day in a park

            was asked just to lay down,

            cover with shiny Mylar

            to pretend to be a border babe detainee,

            could not get back up,

            struggled and pitched forward

            on the good knee.


Comrades a third his age and less

            rushed to steady him

            as he reeled on his feet,

            held him by both elbows

            to a seat where he dropped

            gasping and panting

            they asking with grave concern

            if the paramedics should be called,

            waved off in shame and embarrassment.


And he realized that if called at last

            to the barricades

            he was now only good

            as the barricade.


—Patrick Murfin

The Old Man at another demonstration a year after the collapse embarrassment.  Note the folding chair--I had to spend most of my time sitting.

No comments:

Post a Comment