The 2010 Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United equated money with speech. The resulting deluge of private, unaccountable money into America's political process has corrupted the system, effectively silencing the voices of the 99% who can't donate millions to a Super PAC. On March 23, 2012, Split This Rock Poetry Festival participants gathered at the Supreme Court, stepped up to the mic, and recited or read one line of poetry to protest this perversion of our democracy. These lines have become the cento you see below. (Photos: Jill Brazel)
Mujeres Sabio need company Sonia, we’ll fight to send you wise justices
This is our watch, just for having been born
Letter to the editor from Gertrude Stein: “Is money money” or speech?
May peace prevail on Earth and let it begin with me. Global truce begins now. Global cease fire begins now. Our global family feud ends now. Our global family reunion begins now.
Separation of corporations and state now!
Trust the people; don’t take the money and run… for your keepers
Human beings make mistakes. Fess up, fallible justices, and fix this!
Shake these pillars Split these rocks! Rebuild a system—can’t be bought!
Monet cannot bleed—its veins carry no DNA to save future generations
Como flores, como plumas clamando a las colomnas humano uotan, no el dinero
Like flowers, like feathers crying to human columns, not money
We all talk together who in the whole world is left to listen?
That justice is a blind goddess is something we black men recognize well
Buying an electoral office is like shouting “fire” in a crowded theater
Mines, no. Fracking, no. Earth says, “feet”, yes.
We’re not allowed to hear Trayvon was in Kandahar where no killers are accountable
Before justice’s Corinthian capitals, our dearly paid for words will not accept foreclosure
each make what we can, take what we need, that be enough
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the World
Woman, rugged blossoms, rusted and blues, we desire without apology justice, intimacy and privacy
Free speech: the homeless children gaping at the murderous tower: Listen!
honey people murder mercy U.S.A. the milkland turn to monsters
I pray to my children, the only gods of my uterus
Our language would have to hurtle, fly, curse, and sing…
I want to remember to remember to bleed suffering into forgiveness
America—what is death? America—is death a void that destroys life?
You cannot tell me who I and I what I and I mean
My Daughter learns to speak: mama, dada, apple; every -person- starts this way
The traveler comes to recognize that there can be no darkness without light
I’m stacking and hollowing pennies, building a money throat for my words
Occupy your fists with sand to remind them how quickly rationality escapes us
Marbled house - you appear protected but this house crumbles to eternity
They wear ball gowns & suits… to talk of war… in folded languages
Remember this is entertainment for you and life to me from which I beg free.
And all the black hearts that silence the people shall reap the thunder and the lightening the shallow peace shall fall away to the rain of righteousness
Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Troy Davis, Trayvon Martin, where’s your justice Amerikkka?
Reconcile waking with sleeping, ourselves with each other ourselves with ourselves, try by any means to reach the limits of ourselves, to reach beyond ourselves to let go the means to wake
Shame on you, massive erection, for allowing corporations to buy our election
If you pray the Watchman I will pray the wicker sentinel
We disallow the moneymuscle to wring our wrists and spill our ink
When has money been arrested, beaten? When was money a martyr for speech?
The word, the one thing I could have stood on a boulder in the landscape
Can you describe this? And I answered, yes I can
Each body has its art
Citizens United Against Government Brothels. Laws based on the Constitution, not prostitution
The poet has to take his/her place in the street
We must work for justice or else, why were we here?
Do questions of grammar make the war go away?
In every war, whoever wins the people always lose
Every war has two losers. Justice will take us millions of intricate steps.
The darkest moment is the moment when the dark lets go
Justices—try telling yourself you are not accountable to the breath of the planet, the life of the tribe
Almighty multinational corporate incorporated Bank of the world the world Bank diplomacy and gold
Not until the killing of a black man, black mother’s son is as important as the killing of a white man, white mother’s son
My son said: Mama do you know why dandelions will never die? Because they are in my head
Whisper what can’t be misinterpreted in any language, then pound your gavel down
For the bus driver who always stops for poetry: not pink slips, but praise
The NRA stands its ground, speaking in bullets. Trayvon speaks in roses
Is it an empty house…its…last laugh still shining in its teeth?
We will know our bold industrial brothers when they get the law right
Waves crash over us, we stagger to shore salt in our eyes stinging, still singing
Voice equality is what it’s about. Sortition, random selection, proportional representation now
You can dress them up but they are still who they are
We decided to live as if we were already free
Price tags belong on trinkets, townhouses, tragedies. Not on voices. Not Freedom
The corporation sings superpac-man ad spam siren wail no sale
I’ve escaped a prison of white hooded mad men only to be chained to the fence of capitalism!
Bereft of my money I awoke to find myself still capable of words. Surprise.
Poetry splits the black rock of hatred, lifts the fog of ignorance
(In this way) we are going nowhere, to survive like this holds no glory
Let the next generation ring of music and not money, let’s create and not corrupt but most importantly let's be heard
I am a citizen, not a consumer, my beliefs cannot be commoditized
Corporations do not smile or see the stars they are not people
We are the ones we have been waiting for