Every Sunday, I came dressed in punk rocker black,
checkered pants, steel-toed Docs.
No tie dye on me when I joined
the Chester County Peace Movement.
I lined up at the corner of High and Market,
still and silent, even when City Hall suits sneered hippies,
the Chester County Victory Movement chanted troop-haters,
the families in SUVs blared horns and shouted unpatriotic.
High-gel hair attorneys glared.
Some protestors stepped back and whispered, Is he here to join us or blow up the courthouse?
But my combat boots hadn't marched on the sands of Iraq.
I was always the one to break up brawls,
mute my guitar if circle pits exploded into fights.
As protestors marched and sang
Dylan's prophetic "The Times They Are A Changin'"
and Lennon's piano-laced "Imagine,"
I heard the words of Joe Strummer: You'll be dead when your war is won,
and Dead Kennedys' singer Jello Biafra: There's easy money, easy jobs,
especially when you build the bombs
that blow big cities off the map.
I stood still even when pushed
by a Victory Movement thug jabbing
his finger in my chest and screaming, You don't have the balls to fight in Iraq!
I plugged my ears with my I-pod and listened
to Henry Rollins roar over sloppy Black Flag chords: Try to stop us. It's no use.
We're gonna rise above, rise above.
Added: Monday, July 7, 2014 / Used with permission.
Brian Fanelli is the author of the collections Waiting for the Dead to Speak (NYQ Books, 2016), winner of the Devil’s Kitchen Poetry Prize, and All That Remains (Unbound Content, 2013). He also co-edited the anthology Down the Dog Hole: 11 Poets on Northeast Pennsylvania (Nightshade Press, 2016). His writing has been published in The Los Angeles Times, World Literature Today, The Paterson Literary Review, Main Street Rag, Louisiana Literature, Schuylkill Valley Journal, and elsewhere. He has an M.F.A. from Wilkes University and a Ph.D. from SUNY Binghamton University. He is an Assistant Professor of English at Lackwanna College. Learn more at his website.