Some thoughts for Mother’s Day in Poetry …..

First, one I wrote many years ago, dedicated to my mother. I read it at her funeral. Although she is long gone, I still honour her daily, not just on this so-called Mother’s Day.

Here’s a photo of my Mom keeping up with world events through the pages of The Daily Worker.


Nine months of discomfort and some pain,

Nine months of wondering, hoping…

Are there regrets?

Hope not.

Years of commitment,

Years of unselfishly giving,

Was there more to give?

If only you could.

So much to teach,

So much to share,

How can one be expected to do it all?

But it was done.

Out of the holocaust there came a commitment,

We shall remain and flourish,

Can it be done?

Hope so.

So much to tell the world,

So many wrongs to right,

Will there be help?

There must be strength.

Now you must rest,

Your work is done,

Are there regrets?

Hope not.

This one was written by an unknown poet …

She is the one that carried me in her womb for nine months.
She is the one that nursed me with nutrition from her own body.
She is the one that stood over me and protected me from all harm.
She is the one that loved me no matter what I did.
She was my mother, that’s what they do….
You are who you are today because of your mother, never forget that.
She loved you every day of your life, never forget that either.


The following was written by me on 15 April, 1984. It was presented to His Holiness Pope John Paul ll  during his visit to Jerusalem in March of 2000.

The Nazarene

© Steve Amsel


The Passover is once again upon us and

We reflect on the years gone by;

Of the tribulations of the people

And the heroes of the ages.


The traditional feast, the Seder, has

Been with us for thousands of years.

For most it has always been a joyous meal,

But for one it became the Last Supper.


So cruel they were to you as they

Nailed you to the cross on the hill

Treating you like a common criminal

Rather than the great man that you were.


You felt no malice towards your betrayers,

Instead you asked your god to forgive them

For the crime they committed against you

And those who were close to you.



Two thousand years have passed since

That shameful day and each year

The crime is reenacted by those

Who usurp your name.



You taught love and tolerance

But most of that message is ignored.

Instead there have been wars in your name,

Something, I am sure you would oppose.



Where are your powers today, when they are

Needed to cleanse the earth of its hatred?

The very ones who slew you sanctified

Your name and continue to slay.


Is there no way you can show them

How to change their ways and to live

As you would have wanted them to

Instead of the way they are?



Great temples have been built in

Your honor on every continent

But the message is lacking

One of your basic teachings – Love.



Oh, great one that you were

You must show them the way

Before there are more, like Yourself,

Nailed to the cross for refusing to hate.



Image by Latuff

John McCain proved on several occasions that he was always willing to stoop to new lows in his support of US militarism and empire, whether it was standing on stage with Neo-Nazis in Ukraine or taking candid photos with terrorists in Syria.

Swan Song of McCain

By Thomas Karlson


when the son of US royalty kicks the bucket

they pull out all the stops

honeyed words to ease him into the ground

sanctimonious phrases to sanitize the stench

of four score and one going south


“McCnasty”plows through high school

finishing at the bottom

off to the Academy, the Naval Academy

the admirals, grandpa and daddy, grease his way

graduates fifth from class bottom


off to pilot school

riding high on a Skyhawk in that great illegal war

flying 23 missions, bombing farms and factories

shot down, rescued, imprisoned six years


next, marriage, adultery, remarriage and Congress

a Ragan man all the way

war, tax relief all the way

Keating’s boy he’s one of the 5


Goldwater retires and in steps the man

no King remembrance is his stand

backs the contras and Pinochet too

bomb Yugoslavia right on cue


to end discrimination for gays, he votes nay

same sex marriage, no he did say

billions for Israel that Palestinian paradise

bombs for the Saudis was his sage advice

Libya, Syria he schemed to destroy

terror and Isis for this he deployed

voting against torture, he praises Guantanamo Bay

keep it open forever the American way


and for the presidency he did run

with reality show Sarah, that Alaskan bum

bomb, bomb, bomb Iran he sings at a rally

looses to Obama at the final tally


and then the Trump years began

he votes with 45 again and again

but flies from the hospital for the deciding vote

finally “the maverick” gives us hope

that even McCain has a little soul




By Tom Karlson


August 6th nineteen and forty-five
Enola Gay flies high
bombs away, Little Boy

8:16 one hundred fifty-thousand dead, vaporized
two hundred-thousand Hibakusha,
zombies stagger down streetless streets
silhouetting their dead friends, family
a cityless city
called Hiroshima

on a standing wall an image of
a man, a woman, burned into the brick’s retina

the little haberdasher is not done
“using the bomb is no great decision”

August 9th,
he orders Bockscar to drop Fat Man,
ninety thousand exterminated, vaporized
Hiroshima and Nagasaki will sing no more

Eisenhower “…the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.”

MacArthur “…no military justification for the dropping of the bomb. The war might have ended weeks earlier, if the United States had agreed, as it later did anyway, to the retention of the institution of the emperor.”

“Albert Einstein…President Roosevelt would have forbidden the atomic bombing of Hiroshima had he been alive and that it was probably carried out to end the Pacific war before Russia could participate.”


Norman Finkelstein offers his support for Alan Dershowitz as he has become a social refugee in elite resorts across the Northeast due to his support for the Trump Administration.

Alan Dershowitz, on the run, on vacation, by Katie Miranda.

First they came for Alan Dershowitz


First they came for me in Martha’s Vineyard,
But I was in Nantucket.
Then they came for me in Nantucket,
But I was in Cape Cod.
Then they came for me in Cape Cod,
But I was in Bar Harbor.
Then they came for me in Bar Harbor,
But I was in the Hamptons.
Then they came for me in the Hamptons,
But I was in … Coney Island.
Coney Island!
I no longer cared what befell me.

[For reference.] 

Not quite the same ….



San Patricos

© by Tom Karlson


But what of the patriots?

St. Patrick’s battalion

Organized by Irish Major Riley

500 redheads

500 Catholics

Irishmen fleeing

From the famine

From the terror

From the crown

To their new country

Army for quick citizenship

Shipped out to Texas, then Mexico

The Polk Scott Taylor war of empire

The 500

Refuse to bring famine, terror, and tin-crowns south

Refuse to be transplanted police

They become the patriots

St. Patrick’s battalion

Organized by Irish Major Riley

500 Blue-eyed new Mexicans battling rough and ready Taylor

Army, blockades, that future sea to sea colossus

With war loving congress

Manifest destiny

Pacifism be damned destiny

Abolitionism be damned destiny

Where Lee, Grant, Jeff Davis

West point officers

Fight on the same side

Invading, occupying

Driving the 500 over

Creating that St. Patrick’s battalion

Who fight and die

Hero to one and traitor to the other

Prologue that should be

He remembers Polk’s deception

He remembers the Maine 266 dead

American blood spilled on the left side of the Rio Grande

For 1,000,000 square miles of north Mexico

He remembers the Maine 266 dead

Pacific and Caribbean empire

The Texans lie called the Gulf of Tonkin incident

2,000,000 indo Chinese 56,000 us dead

He will remember the weapons of mass destruction

And that good 10 year 3 trillion dollar war, 2,000,000 dead 


Poem by Yehonatan Geffen comparing Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi to Anne Frank, Hannah Szenes and Joan of Arc infuriated Defense Minister Lieberman, who sought to then ban Geffen from all Army Radio broadcasts; AG Mandelblit said Lieberman had no legal standing to do so, an opinion Lieberman disavowed.

Yehonatan Geffen (Flash 90)

On Monday, Geffen published a short poem on his instagram account, comparing Ahed Tamimi to heroic underdogs throughout the generations, from David against Goliath to Anne Frank.

“A pretty girl 17 years old did a terrible thing

And when a proud Israeli soldier

Again invaded her home

She gave him a slap.

She was born into it and in that slap

Were fifty years of occupation and humiliation.

And on the day that the story of the struggle will be told

You, Ahed Tamimi,

The redhead,

Like David who slapped Goliath,

You will be in the same ranks as

Joan of Arc, Chana Senesh and Anne Frank.”

Ahed Tamimi Hadas Parush /Flash90

Israeli poet compares Ahed Tamimi to Anne Frank

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman this morning (Tuesday) instructed Army Radio to cease playing the works of or interviewing Israeli poet and songwriter Yehonatan Geffen, after Geffen published a poem on his Instagram account glorifying a Palestinian Authority teen who slapped Israeli soldiers.

On December 15, Ahed Tamimi, her cousin Nour Tamimi and Ahed’s mother Nariman Tamimi confronted two IDF soldiers stationed in the PA town of Nabi Salih following the outbreak of riots in the area.

In footage of the incident that went viral, the Tamimis can be seen pushing, kicking, slapping, and shouting at the soldiers, who do not respond to the provocations.

Ahed Tamimi was later arrested on December 19, and was indicted on January 1. A total of 12 charges were included in the indictment against Ahed, spanning 6 different incidents. The charges include aggravated assault, interfering with army operations, incitement, making threats, and throwing stones.

“I instructed this morning the commander of Army Radio to cease playing or interviewing Yehonatan Geffen on all station broadcasts,” Liberman said in response. “The State of Israel will not grant a platform to a man who compares a girl who died in the Holocaust and a heroic warrior who fought the Nazi regime with the brat Ahed Tamimi, who attacked a soldier. Geffen’s headline-seeking is sickening and outrageous.”



Another report HERE


Foreign Body

by Milena Rampoldi

He went to the land of the greedy hordes

He became fat and rich

And he became fatter and heavier

He went to the land of the addicted fighters

He attacked and won

He expanded and continued to be the winner

The winning, foreign body

His victory was foreign –

Since he was a foreign body

However, his narration continued to repeat

You are the winner

You are addicted of victories

You are thirsty of aggressions

Since you – the technological foreign body

Are the winner

The narration does not stop

To repeat this

He shot and looked around

In the solitude of his illusory victory

In the solitude of his illusory truth

The others were crouched on the ground

He repeated the monologue of his narration

He believed in this lie

It was his truth 

He adored it

You have won

You are the winner

This poem is published in the following book.

Anti-Zionist Fragments is a loud cry that echoes the deep pain felt by the collective soul of a Palestinian people who for almost seventy years have been subject to a barbaric ethnic cleansing that denies them their heritage, history, and human rights. It is a cry that begs recognition of the Palestinian people who as members of the human family are entitled to an inherent dignity with the equal and inalienable rights that form the foundation for freedom, justice, and peace in the world; a cry that for too long has been ignored by hypocritical, double standard political and religious leaders; and an agonized cry that should be heard by all of us and touch the hearts of real human beings.

Milena Rampoldi’s Fragments are succinct and cover a range of pertinent topics that defiantly express the unbreakable spirit of a people — who despite all the odds against them including an unconscionable betrayal by the rest of the world — are nonetheless determined to survive and to hold on to what is left of their culture which the Zionist invaders have not already destroyed or stolen while citing scriptures written by Jews claiming to have been chosen by God who gave them Palestine.


Closures for Jewish and Israeli holidays are a routine procedure.

Israeli security forces at the Qalandiya checkpoint near Ramallah (Flash90)

Israel set to put West Bank, Gaza under 11-day closure for Sukkot

Exceptionally long closure comes after Har Adar attack; defense minister dismisses as ‘nonsense’ TV report he overruled army’s recommendation

In a rare move, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman approved a plan to shut off the West Bank and Gaza Strip for 11 days for the Sukkot holiday and the following Shabbat, his office said Sunday.

An IDF spokesperson confirmed that this was the current decision. However, she stressed that the closure was subject to further assessments ahead of the holiday and could change.

Closures for Jewish and Israeli holidays are a routine procedure. However, in the past, Israel has shut down the West Bank and Gaza only at the start and end of week-long festivals like Sukkot, rather than for the entire holiday.

As the holiday ends on the evening of October 11 — a Wednesday — the closure is scheduled to last through the weekend, until midnight on October 14, for a total of 11 days.

Channel 2 news reported that Liberman’s decision went against a recommendation by the army and was due to pressure by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, following the deadly stabbing attack at the Har Adar settlement last week in which a Palestinian terrorist shot and killed three security officers and wounded a fourth.

The defense minister’s office dismissed the unsourced report as “nonsense,” and the army similarly denied the claim.

According to both the minister’s and an army spokesperson, since the Har Adar attack, the IDF’s stance has been in favor of a closure for the entire holiday.

The military said that prior to the Har Adar terror attack, it did advocate closing the West Bank and Gaza for only the first and last days of the holiday, but that assessment changed after the attack.

Liberman’s spokesperson said that the new “recommendation was accepted by the defense minister.”

In general, the Jewish high holiday season, which began last week with Rosh Hashanah, is seen by defense officials as a time period of increased tension in the region, when the risk of terror attacks is higher.

Ordinarily, tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank enter Israel and Israeli settlements for work each day. A far smaller number of Gaza residents also travel to Israel, mostly to receive medical treatment.

The IDF makes exceptions to the closures for humanitarian and other outstanding cases, based on assessments by the Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration.

West Bank and Gaza closures for holidays are intended both to prevent attempts at terror attacks in Israel during the holiday period and to allow the Israeli security officials who operate the crossings to celebrate the festival.

A similar closure was imposed on Friday and Saturday for Yom Kippur and last week, for Rosh Hashanah.

The above brings to mind a poem that I wrote 13 years ago ….


By Steve Amsel 


A wall has been built,

I cannot see my neighbor

I know not when he needs my help

I know not when he is hungry.


My brother’s child cannot come for an afternoon snack

I cannot bring it to him

The wall is in the way

Dividing families and loved ones.


“They” told us the wall is for protection.

From what?

Must our children go hungry?

Must we be jobless?


“They” say we are the enemy.

Is going to work a crime?

Is going to school a crime?

Try to tell a child that hunger is a good thing.


If the wall stays up

There will be an enemy

Uneducation and hunger leads to resentment

Resentment will lead to revolt.


Learn from your history my friends

Learn that walls are not the solution

Learn that unity is strength

And learn that justice triumphs over evil always.



A poem about Truth and other thoughts from Palestine


By Mazin Qumsiyeh

Truths became fragile outcasts
drowned refugees denied even their pasts
or those refugees silenced
by Zionist media murdered
Orphaned and denied futures
Tortured and robbed of cultures
kept behind ghetto walls
taboo subjects in conference halls
truths sinking?
rapidly shrinking?
becoming nameless?
lies multiply?
people’s minds
flash that blinds
calcified hearts
broken in parts
Standing with the persecuted truths
we are hunted by mean untruths
But it is our solemn option
to offer orphan truths’ adoption

Though numerous… all lies end
Truths return and never bend
truths humble and meek but remain here
loud for those who want or wish to hear
you can see them, hear them, taste them
feel them and know them
In helping a hungry child smile
in walking the extra mile
in a shared simple meal
in every emotion we feel
in a sparkle in a student’s eye
in the pain that we cry
in a lover’s embrace
in a friend’s grace
in generous giving
in gracious receiving
in never tiring
of true loving


I wish that the US and the Western governments take care of their people in
need.  Instead of legislating to help Puerto Rico, the Israeli occupied US
Congress is trying to be an even more obedient "house slave" for the
Zionist masters by imposing more penalties on Hizballah (Lebanon) and Iran
and pushing for yet another devastating war (just like they did in Somalia,
Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Libya). Bernard Levy, the Jewish Zionist instigator
of the mayhem in Libya was in Northern Iraq building Zionist relationships
with the Kurdish region and instigating for dividing Iraq like the Zionists
did in Sudan. Other Zionists pour illegally acquired money in illegal
Jewish settlements and the largest terrorist organization in the world -
the Israeli army. Dividing the world and creating hatred and wars has been
a key pillar of global Zionist machinery for decades*. It is the old
colonial strategy of divide and conquer. As always many reject divisions
while some fall into this trap. Time to look in the mirror and time to turn
the tables. Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria are waking up. China and
Russia are finally showing some backbone. Even new understandings and
alliances are being forged against the wishes of the puppet masters. For
the sake of humanity, it is time to end the hate, the divisions and
conflicts.  The key to peace will be from here in Palestine. Once the
notion of a sectarian ("Jewish") state is abandoned, we transform to a
state of all its people, secular and democratic. It would have the ripple
effect of peace throughout the Arab world. Radical Islamists trying to
imitate Israel by having an Islamic state will no longer have a footing or
an excuse.

US Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel denounces racistposter campaign 
trying to silence truth tellers [In my opinion they should
sue these racist Zionists for defamation]

The Palestine exception to free speech

EDWARD SAID writing in 1993 with amazing foresight telling the truth that
should be read by all who had the Oslo delusion (“two state” road) then and
those who still have it now

*Ex-CIA official: America's Jews Are Driving U.S. Wars


Stop the racism, stop the hate Start with your heart ­ never too late —————

Image by Enrique Lavin

Trump’s total eclipse of decency in cartoons

Stop the Hate by Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh
 Stop the racism, stop the hate Start with your heart ­ never too late At a world in turmoil we sadly wonder Our duty and responsibility we ponder Through experience we know Life is the energy good or bad that flow Until our death when we are no more And only our deeds tell our lore Some of us were taught at schools To remember the golden rules Not only that we do to others what we hope for ourselves But that there is a price or a prize for acts themselves That everything we do we get back A good or a bad deed even a smile or a crack “God give them what they wish for me” actually, what I do comes back to me what I did yesterday comes back to me today You cannot make war for peace and security Any more than you can have sex for virginity Stop the racism, stop the hate Start with your heart ­ never too late Positive energy begets positive Selfish thought begets negative Choose Justice, kindness, and humanism not Cruelty, greed, and racism You can’t take money to your grave Only bad deeds and good deeds left to save Let this simple fact not get blurred Save a child, a plant, a friend, or a bird Worry about your spirit, Of all pollution do clear it The tranquil is not the hawk but the dove You cannot conquer the hate except by the love Take a deep breath in and gently breathe out Meditate and you will find that winning route Ponder how the soft conquers the hard And why the evil deeds are marred The roads of the wise like the water steams Low and soft but stones dissipate in the way like dreams The key is time which is patience realized The door is kindness we must have utilized Stop the racism, stop the hate Start with your heart ­ never too late —————



By Tom Karlson

no war is the good war
not Afghanistan
not Iraq
not Yemen
or Palestine

shock and awe and fire and fury,
genocide’s alias
900 bases, genocide’s cancer
blockade and embargo, genocide’s handmaiden
the president’s pentagon, genocide’s fist
the president, genocide’s mouth


They came and they came and they came!

by Mike Luckovich / Atlanta Journal Constitution

by Mike Luckovich / Atlanta Journal Constitution


© By Tom Karlson

they came from the east

they came from the west

they came from the north

thet came from the south

all sizes, all ages, all colors

in numbers incomprehensible


they came by foot

they came by rail

they came by subway

they came by plane

taxi, bus, car

pushing babies, held up by walkers, canes

wearing hats of protest

singing songs of their parents, grandparents

given with grace and love to these new protesters


they came with messages

of patriotism

of love

in peace

of resistance



they came with signs

solidarity with




native people

hands off women’s bodies

black folks-Black Lives Matter

people with disabilities

mother earth matters


they came in glorious diversity

by the 10’s the 100’s, the 1000’s

on six continents 600 towns millions strong

they came and they came and they came

by Mike Keefe / Colorado Independent

by Mike Keefe / Colorado Independent



“I suppose I should be ashamed to say that I take the western view of the Indian. I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indian is the dead Indian, but I believe nine out of every ten are, and I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth.”

Teddy Roosevelt


Thanks Giving

 © By Tom Karlson

That original sin

Our original sin

Not a talking snake sin

No Adam or Eve sin


This original sin

This first holocaust sin

This First Nation

ten million

Double helixed


Long gone sin

200 languages silenced sin

This good, drunk, dead, jailed, Indian sin


310 million All-Americans

Sit at the table eating

Corn, sweet potatoes, turkey

Watching football

Giving thanks


During travels, one gets little sleep and much time to catch-up on
emails, read, grade student papers, and even to think and reflect.
Last week in Palestine was very hectic, harvest of olives, teachings,
meeting with bureaucrats, research, mentoring students, receiving many
international and local delegations plus many local ones including
students from 4 schools) and much thus meaning a second night with
little sleep. We also lost a close friend of us and of Palestine:
Vincenzo Tradardi of Parma. We will really miss him. Other setbacks
happen daily but we are gratified by the goodness of people around us.
Volunteers, staff, students, and dedicated activists for peace and
justice. Most are struggling to grow amid the madness. I really do not
like to travel and I already miss Palestine where I feel much more
alive than anywhere else on earth. The poem below is written in


The Struggle Within

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

Facing life’s challenges and insecurity
The heart yearns for serenity

How can we ignore the oppressor’s meanness
And simply understand his weakness

With so much deception
What is to change perception?

We struggle to see the positives
Even as we are flooded with negatives

A child hungers amid flies and vultures
While billionaires invest in ventures

Zionists steal our lands
And profit from our raised hands

Tossing and turning in their dreary night
Their biggest fear is truth coming to light

The corrupt rule in Ramallah
The weak put faith in Allah

Within you feed the good wolf more
If you do not want the bad one to score

Does the struggle within have winners
Or is it only in the case of the sinners?

The righteous are also struggling
Their caring hardly a blessing

In darkness, creating, and sheltering light
Is not a life of ease or of delight

burden hard to carry in sickness or in health
the (good) struggle goes on till the last breath

“joyful participation in the sorrows of world”
Buddhists had it right – participation a key word

From good will and good deeds
We are counseled that joy springs seeds

We are advised to take time
To appreciate the sublime

For us Palestinians, it is harder to reason
After decades of colonization and treason

though words easy to say, we still struggle to understand
and even harder to plan: How we continue to withstand?

How we have resilience
How we create persistence

Perhaps what sustains us is goodness all around
And the beauty of this hallowed ground

Perhaps we see divine in all of us
not just Palestinian baby Jesus

we see it in birds singing early mornings
even bats hunting insects evenings

we see it in poor honest unemployed
in families and children when joyed

we see it in smiles and stretched hands
in the rythm of seasons in ancient lands

we see it in memories of Karameh victory
and all those who are symbols of bravery

we see it in forgotten graves of massacred
and in the hunger strikes of the incarcerated

we see it in a smile of dabka girls who carry genes
of their ancestral Canaanitic queens

we hear it in the rhythm of tabla and oud *
 the call of the athan**, church bells, and even silent sumoud

we smell it aroma of tabboun za’atar ***
taste it apricots, guava, figs, and loz akhdar****

we taste it in zibda baladiya***** with mountain honey
and in herbal medicines curing the worst agony

Countless generations passed in the arms of mother Palestine
babies from Issa to the Ahmed of maddonnas divine

Our clock will end soon and we are no more
As we join all those departed who struggled before

We bequeeth to our children beauty and burden
Thoughts pass as the plants leave their seeds in the garden

the secret to life is love and suffer grandfather told us
yet, the dust of billions of forgotten ancestors remind us

as we breathe it and eat it that we mortals must have humility
and that humility added to struggle and love equals serenity

the old country song says: in the end matters only kindness
this old country man says: humility and love can conquer our madness

*tabla and oud: eastern musical instruments corresponding to drum and guitar
**athan: muslim call to prayer
***tabboun za’atar: bread of traditional kiln with thyme
****loz akhdar: green almonds
*****Zibda baladiya: A country butter made from goat milk


This poem was written by a German friend, Christopher Ben Kushka, a courageous activist for human rights and Palestinian liberation . It is not easy to speak out for Palestine in Germany. He is a teacher who is having a very hard time , threatened by Benjamin Weinthal and the lunatics and ideologues trying to harm him. He writes that 85% of Germans are indifferent or think it is a 50:50 conflict. Like me, he has been dropped like a hot potato for his views considered extreme.  He is also shut down from taking part in public discourse.

Bansky graffiti

Bansky graffiti

Here is a heartbreaking poem Christopher wrote at the height of the Gaza massacre in 2014

I want Palestinians to die

I want Palestinians to worry
which career to choose?
where to go on vacation, which country to travel to first?

I want Palestinians to despair
over the sun having set already
when they arrive at the beach to BBQ with family and friends

I want Palestinians toddlers and kids to cry
over a broken toy
and then to stroll on to another day full of adventures

I want Palestinians to battle
the challenges inside their own society
in a country based on justice and rights and peace
with none of us well-meaning friends interfering

I want Palestinians to die
a calm death
after a fullfilled and dignified life
after doing the deeds and praying the prayers
and working the work and
watching the next generations grow and prosper

a calm death they shall die
with a smile on their face
and an Alhamdulillah! on their lips

Click HERE to see a report written by the poet for Mondoweiss


A childhood illness rendered this dear woman blind, deaf and dumb ….

Yet, in adulthood she saw more than most people, heard of the injustices facing humanity and spoke volumes about it all.

“What are you committed to,” an interviewer asked her in 1916, “education or revolution?” “Revolution,” Keller replied.

The following poem was written in honour of her 136th birthday on the 27th of June



© By Tom Karlson

born June 27th, 1880

partial death two years later

coffined by the fever

without sound, without light, without words

for six years

hot and cold, odors, winds, vibrations

tantrum without words

nightmare without sound


blind deaf mute

but wait

Anne Sullivan is coming

grave robber and miracle worker

teaching Helen

turning lips into words, thoughts, visions

teaching Helen Braille, finger spelling,

signs and speech

vibration into pitch

pitch into Beethoven

thought into books, speeches


thought into action

socialism, the IWW,

labor rights, women’s rights, civil rights anti war

joins Debs’ Socialist Party

when Debs was jailed

when the ACLU was founded

Helen carried the card

when communism was under fire

Helen joined the fray


our blind deaf Helen roars

sees, hears, talks and writes of evil

the evils of war

the evils of exploitation

the evils of capitalism


Image by Carlos Latuff

Image by Carlos Latuff


© By Tom Karlson

born Cassias Clay1942, became Mohammed Ali 1965

yes he held the Olympic gold

laid out Sunny the bear Liston two times

for the world heavyweight belt

joined the Nation of Islam before the 2nd Liston fight

a warm up for what was coming


these epic battles were not against

the brothers’ Frazier and Foreman

when Ali refused induction

brought on a waterfall of hate

this enemy could not be defeated with fist and rhyme,

with bouts of fifteen 3 minute rounds

inside the squared circle


this foe, a shape changer

from war, to racism, to religious hatred

this main event reverberated

for three and one-half years

of banishment from boxing

the enemy was defeated with brain and talk

with picket line and printed word and the highest court


Ali’s fight and victory resonated

from Alabama to Rubens Island

from Billie Jean King to the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee

and the hundreds of campuses that cheered the champ


defeated for a time was the pentagon,

the ugly race hating half of America,

the war-profiteers, and their embedded sports writers


winner was tolerance and understanding

and how we were taught by the champ

to fight for our beliefs


In April 1967, Ali refused to be drafted and requested conscientious-objector status. He was immediately stripped of his title by boxing commissions around the country. Several months later he was convicted of draft evasion, a verdict he appealed. Credit Ed Kolenovsky/Associated Press

In April 1967, Ali refused to be drafted and requested conscientious-objector status. He was immediately stripped of his title by boxing commissions around the country. Several months later he was convicted of draft evasion, a verdict he appealed. Credit Ed Kolenovsky/Associated Press




© Tom Karlson

August 6th nineteen and forty-five

Enola Gay flies high


bombs away, Little Boy


8:16 one hundred fifty-thousand dead, vaporized

two hundred-thousand Hibakusha,

zombies stagger down streetless streets

silhouetting their dead friends, family

a cityless city

called Hiroshima


on a standing wall an image of

a man, a woman, burned into the brick’s retina


the little haberdasher is not done

“using the bomb is no great decision”


August 9th,

he orders Bockscar to drop Fat Man,

ninety thousand exterminated, vaporized

Hiroshima and Nagasaki will sing no more


Eisenhower “…the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.”

MacArthur “…no military justification for the dropping of the bomb. The war might have ended weeks earlier, if the United States had agreed, as it later did anyway, to the retention of the institution of the emperor.”

“Albert Einstein…President Roosevelt would have forbidden the atomic bombing of Hiroshima had he been alive and that it was probably carried out to end the Pacific war before Russia could participate.”

Image by Latuff

No need to apologise!

No need to apologise!





Happy Holiday and enjoy!

The Billy Bragg version of the international socialist anthem.

And a poem by Tom Karlson …

The Forgotten

in Texas,

independent, slave loving Texas

was born Lucy Gonzalez

Mexican, African, Indian

mothered and fathered by the whip and chain

freed by the Great Emancipator at eleven

a slave of Gathings for one thousand  nights

liberated again by

former Confederate Captain Albert Parsons

they married

the KKK forced husband and wife to Chicago

where they worked and organized for the 8 hour day

May 4th, 1886 Lucy and Albert were at the Haymarket

protesting a police shooting the day before and

demanding eight hours of work ,eight hours of sleep, eight hours of play

police charged the crowd

a dynamite bomb was thrown

sending seven police and four workers

to the promised land

Albert and seven labor leaders were executed

Lucy fought and won    

full exoneration

the  eight hour work day arrives

carried in by an army of

wobblies, socialists, communists, and trade unionists


Lucy Parsons gave her long life to

labor rights civil rights and women’s rights

she died in1942, 89 years old

Lucy Parsons, Presente

May Day lives


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