Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Not A Thing You Can Easily Move

My grandma (mother's mother) died on March 3, 1988. My grandpa (mother's father) died on March 5, 1985. I keep on thinking of how they would have reacted to Netanyahu's statement, "America is a thing you can easily move."

Not A Thing You Can Easily Move

Frannie Zellman

To the memories of my grandma and grandpa, Helen Glaser (1900-March 3,1988) and James Glaser (1899-March 5,1985)

All my life, Mr. Netanyahu,
I fought for the rights of workers.
I wrote, I marched, I spoke.
I testified. I planned.
I grew up in the slums of Philadelphia,
Mr. Netanyahu,
not the suburbs, as you did.
Gangs threw my papers
in the street.
America was a road littered
with the hopes of poor kids.

All my life, Mr. Netanyahu,
I fought for women, especially
poor women
to have a voice, to have more ways
to control their lives.
When the landlords tossed poor tenants
into the streets,
we grabbed their furniture
and shouldered it back up each step.
America was a street blocked
by threadbare couches and hard chairs,

All my life, Mr. Netanyahu,
I told the powerful
that they would be called
to account.
At the HUAC hearings in 1956,
I asked the Chair
if he had ever been poor.
He wouldn't answer.
America was a room swathed
in righteous privilege.

All my life, Mr. Netanyahu,
I walked up and down
our stairs and sidewalks
calling on people to vote.
Too many, it seemed to me,
got their way through
dollars, not decisions.
America was a green haze
of comfortable favors.

And so you see, Mr. Netanyahu,
my grandparents both claimed America
after mind-breaking, soul-bruising,
heart-bloody work.
Their acts of strength
and word grew their hopes
and replaced their dreams.
They and their colleagues
built something of stony beauty
harder than flowers
and angrier than sunsets.

We who care love it
only after we cry,
 as they did, silently.

So be warned:
It shall not be moved.

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