About that Populist Moment

From “Haymarket” – Text and artwork copyright Danny Grosso

While seemingly new

and inspired just today

or yesterday

when the pink flesh

turned acid red

or maroon

like a Midway lineman

just into the scrum

This feeling that’s become

a movement, a fire, a vocation


has instead been among  us

about and within

longer than memory

past both elation and chagrin

suviving even the pall.

Ask the Haymarket marchers

before the bomber came to call.

Ask Teddy’s Progressives

Henry Wallace’s too

all those marchers

on the Washington mall

Paul Robeson singing

Woody Guthrie and all

strumming together

on ox carts and boxcars

This Land is Your Land

an old classic now

but it was sung among those

with the Populist vow

long before twenty-somethings

attached to their phones

were dreams of their fathers

were frightened or sour

or just wishing for something

that’s just not allowed.

The massing together

of those who’d disobey

is a natural result

of the American way.


Danny Grosso



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