August 18, 2013 by Dr. Margaret Rozga
[This poem was written by Dr. Margaret Rozga inspired by the current crackdown on political dissent in the Wisconsin State Capitol, where peaceful singers are being arrested for singing in the rotunda without a permit. Dr. Rozga has published two books: Two Hundred Nights and One Day and Though I Haven’t Been to Baghdad. She lives in Milwaukee and blogs about poetry and social justice. This poem was originally published in New Verse News. We have added images and video below to provide background information. WCMC editors would like to thank Dr. Rozga for allowing us to showcase her work. -Editors]
The State of Wisconsin
Capitol Police Captain Lonergan Speaks Into His Shoulder.
During a game when he speaks,
Packers’ Head Coach Mike McCarthy
props up his nose with a stiff sheet of paper.
Two stiff-eyed officers, watch the center, slow-walk
the circumference counter-clockwise.
Guards on the circumference of the perhaps
mine in the Penokee Hills scarf their faces.
Judge Conley finds sections of the permit requirement
unconstitutional in ways that raise “the question of whether
the rest of the Access Policy can be salvaged.”
Perhaps he thinks this clear.
They nod and cut a clear line toward the center.
The center of attention, Senate President
Mike Ellis, screws up his face, busts a gavel.
We saw you, your face, your mouth moving.
We have clear evidence. You were singing.
No one saw the Governor pick up the phone.
Just imagine his face as he answers the prank call.
Justices of the Supreme Court hear arguments
and take them into their own hands.
Teachers take pay cuts.
He’s busted. He’s held in
a basement room, plastic cuffs cutting into
In the still green of the Penokee Hills,
the Ojibwe set up a harvest camp.
Packer backers, happy to have tickets,
paint their faces and chests green and gold.
Another $200 ticket. What’s up, Captain
Lonergan? What do you call down there?
And who calls it in to you?
Video of arrests on Tuesday, August 13, 2013:
Dr Rozga accepted the 2013 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Heritage award on behalf of her late husband, Fr. James Groppi, at the Capitol in January 2013. Read more here: http://progressive.org/walker-gets-schooled-at-mlk-event
To help defray legal expenses associated with current arrests at the Capitol, visit: http://solidaritysingalong.org/