Let Them Eat Cake by Pris Campbell

Crazy Dan, Vietnam Vet, lurks
near Wall Street, eyeballs the tents,
the angry folk shouting.

His head whirs.

The war protesters have found him.
Found him after years curled

in cartons or on well-hidden park benches-
only an occasional night dared
at the Salvation Army.

His reconnaissance skills are fading.

But no–a woman looks at him kindly,
sticks an Occupy sign into his hand,
leads him out to the street.

They’re taking the hill,
he realizes.

Young again, dead buddies
by his side, he charges.
He winds through orange mist,
vines; he’ll come back a hero
this time. Surely his country
will love him.

His heart pounds victory until
darkness descends with the thud
of a billy club and the glimpse
of one champagne glass tossed
by gods in pin-stripes

12 Responses to “Let Them Eat Cake by Pris Campbell”

  1. Ray Foreman Says:

    Pris, you’re saying it well and it’s what we may need to say for a long time in poems and other expressive writings. Get today’s AlterNet headlines and you’ll see what I mean.

  2. angie werren Says:

    perfect capture of the emotions in all this mess, pris.

  3. I’ve been keeping a sharp lookout for some of these old guys in this uprising myself. You can usually pick them out of the crowd. I appreciate this piece.

  4. well said. excellent poem, Pris.

  5. Thank you all for your reading and comments. Yes, I would expect some sixties protesters as well as Vets mixed in with what’s going on now.

    Ray, I’ll google and see if I can find the headlines you’re referring to.

  6. http://www.alternet.org/occupywallst/

    I found the page of headlines. Thanks! I’m going to work through these now!


  7. Pris,
    You capture the compression of time and space and how things change but stay the same because in both conflicts the rulers are the same. The Vet has one more “charge” in him then it’s lights out and he can’t remember which war this is.

  8. Philip, you saw it so clearly. Thank you.

  9. I enjoy your work and this is no exception

  10. This poem raised strong memories from Korea to the sixties and through every important movement to right wrong to the present. I felt some of this emotion on the couple of occasions that I Occupied Wall Street. You’ve said it so well. Thank you.

  11. I’m so glad you could relate to this. The Occupy movement is the closest to the sixties war protests that I’m aware of. And those link right back to the Vet.

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