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Los Angeles Poetry Examiner's Friday Pick: Poetry of Revolution

Revolutionary Poets Brigade Los Angeles Anthology
Mark Lipman

“The Revolutionary Poets Brigade Anthology makes revolution still possible in these cataclysmic terrible times.” ~Lawrence Ferlinghetti, 1st Poet Laureate of California

Los Angeles Poetry Examiner’s Friday Pick is Poetry from Revolutionary Poets Brigade Los Angeles Anthology just released from Vagabond. In celebration, the book launch on April 10 has an RSVP list of the most engaging poet activists that this culturally diverse city has to offer by way of transient or homegrown.

Letter from Nurmburg

by michael c ford

Hitler may have been just an unemployed sociopath

mondo-weirdo hophead wallpaper-hanger. So, where

were all these scored patterns of Hollywood ironies

by people doing interior decorations on the extended

plotline of this wartime abyss?

The time it’s going to take to figure it out is illimitable.

Seeing isn’t always believing! It has a lot to do with the

fact that you began to notice certain movie producers

are often disguised as descendants from the

commandants of Auschwitz; especially, the ones who

aren’t even Jewish seem to be constantly committed

to war’s long myth.

You’ve always been naïve but, at the same time,

aware that the bigger the box-office the bigger the

concerns for sinister pogroms in the name of

paranoid conservative compliance. It’s all so

perfectly inspired by the empathetic fragrance of

money. Everything sacred that has gone before us

is, now, fallen as we follow, falling on our own bodies,

filling all our foreign real estate like war dog dental

surgeons in an absurd sort of root canal battle zone.

You’ve been known to be an occasional commercial

actress wearing several indolent masks of kinds

related to the conveniently sick refusal by our

war-god president FDR to bomb 3rd Reich railroads.

This would have been just one more way to have

removed forever from our collective memory the

death camp conspiracy; that’s why any recollection

of the incineration of your ancestors, as well, forces

you into continually seeing them wearing

barbed wire blindfolds.

Selling soap in between daytime dramas is such a

symbolic exigency, yet, so in a way, it was before any

war. This means: it’s difficult to say when we will be

able to look with the same intensity into each other’s

television eyes.

A Stirring Underfoot

by Mark Lipman

A rumbling can be heard on the horizon

A great stirring underfoot

as dried, dying leaves crack and crumble

from the weight bearing down on them

The march into battle echoes in far off villages

and mighty metropolis

as clear as the fallen pin.

A wisp of wind in the Sahara

is all that is needed

to create a sand storm

in the dust bowl of the mid-west

Unrest in the streets and town squares

amassed in the raised voices

at the checkout counter

And a fist can be seen in the air

multiplied by the millions

of disheveled and downtrodden.

No, we are not to blame for the bankers’ plunder.

We, we are merely the results of deregulation

of capitalization

of corruption in high places

and our voices will be heard

Vibrating in your meeting halls

crumbling your capitols

to dust and ash

from whence they came.

Greedy children and their teachers

are not the guilty parties.

The excess spoils will not be found

in the pockets of the toiling masses.

Grandma’s social security check

did not crash the economy

any more than did immigrants

send your jobs to China.

We are not the problem

but like a thunderbolt

from Zeus’ fingertips

slicing through the darkness

of their expedient lies

We will be the solution.

One Leg Left

~by Yvonne de la Vega

(for my beloved comrades of Occupy Los Angeles)

they had amputated the leg

no, not paralyzed

but amputated

there is no


realizing that running

in tall fields of grass

was a dream

and not blue sky


blue shower curtain


this hospital bed

upon looking

upon learning

that one foot was missing

as well as it’s knee

that the loss of feeling

was really

a missing limb

taken while

in the deep sleep of




under the influence

of that

opium for the masses

and there was no


no return

to taller grass

upon looking

upon learning

upon grieving

upon remembering

the deceitful language

with which we

unanimously agreed

upon the most heavy


we remain calm

we remain strong


we remind ourselves

it is done but yet

the truth is

we still have one leg left America.


In the winter of 2010, the first Revolutionary Poets Brigade Anthology, a multi-lingual edition, with the participation of 76 poets from 25 countries, was launched. Since then, brigade chapters have sprung up around the world: in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Burlington, Vermont; Paris, France; Rome, Italy; and now, newly arrived, here in Los Angeles, California.

“ This anthology, a selection of works from 70 local poets, and the great photo-art of local Venice artist, Mike Chamness, represents a powerful and broad spectrum of voices throughout the entire Los Angeles region. Though by no means intended to be an exhaustive collection of all the great poets there are to discover here, let this anthology speak as an introduction to the soul of our communities, here in this great city, the belly of the beast, Los Angeles, California.” ~Mark Lipman, Editor, Revolutionary Poets Brigade Los Angeles Anthology Vagabond Books

In July of 2009, while attending the San Francisco International Poetry Festival, a conversation began around a table at Caffé Trieste in North Beach, between 3 poet/activists. San Fransisco Poet Laureate Jack Hirschman, International Poet Antonieta Villamil and Mark Lipman, editor of the Revolutionary Poets Brigade Los Angeles and owner of Vagabond, a publishing press. Jack told the two about a new group of poets that was being formed, the Revolutionary Poets Brigade, for poets who desired to put their words to service for the ongoing struggles our societies face. It would be a forum where working together, poets would strive to make a difference in the direction of the world, a goal both highly ambitious and noble in pursuit – Antonieta and Mark were hooked.

Says editor Mark Lipman,

“ It was decided there that we would help get this started by publishing an anthology for the RPB through our press, Caza de Poesía. Jack collected the work and made the selections, while I began the editing process. This Los Angeles anthology is in fact long overdue. Already an anthology by our brigade chapter in Rome, and our second international anthology, Heartfire, edited by Jack Hirschman and Agneta Falk, through Kallatumba Press, have been released.”

“That a Revolutionary Poets Brigade exists in Los Angeles is a bit of a miracle and thanks to Mark Lipman in ElAye this Anthology reflects some of the terrific poetry, outside the established institutions, that exists in that area, from more renowned poets like Luis. J. Rodriguez to terrific new voices like Henry Howard and venerables like Michael C Ford. There’s potential for the biggest Brigade in the States in Los Angeles. Where did Romero come from? And that Devcich, wow!” ~Jack Hirschman 4th Poet Laureate of San Francisco

Revolutionary Poets Brigade Los Angeles Anthology Vagabond Books is newly available! Get your copy at today!

VAGABOND, founded on December 21, 2012, on the first day of the galactic spring, in the wake of world-wide social upheaval and a global movement, aims to be a voice without borders, a venue and vehicle for those who would otherwise be silenced and a broken cog in a system that has forgotten its place in nature.VAGABOND seeks to stand up for the little guy by using the power of the printed word to share thoughts, ideas and perspectives, to help bridge the gap in our own humanity and mutual understanding of just what is possible in this marvelous experiment called life.

Through our books of poetry, prose, essays and stories, VAGABOND challenges our critical thinking and dares us all to imagine a brighter future.

VAGABOND: Laying the groundwork for the ideas of tomorrow.

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