SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER, MY LOVE

maggie knowles (maggie@vgn.com)
Tue, 26 Oct 1999 14:42:35 -0700


from "dirty truths" by michael parenti c1996 
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SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER, MY LOVE

Speak truth to power, my love,
and watch their sleek smiles disappear.
The gatekeeper's face hardens
from the unaccustomed exposure
and those who should feel only shame
are filled with righteous puffery.

Meanwhile, the loyal oppositionists and labor dealers,
academic acolytes and kept scribes
all sniff the wind and test the Times,
trimming their sails, ready about!

With elaborate casualness,
they flash their ideological credentials.
With earnest asides,
they counsel self-censorship,
urging you to a smaller voice
to gain a bigger audience,
as they twist themselves in a tighter circle,
twisting for their credibility.

They know how to show courage
against easy targets.
Waiting for an approving glance,
they demand faultless standards
from besieged infant revolutions.
A critical distance they keep
when victims fight back and win.
They do mainstream imitations
Responsible Critics from Pragmatics, Inc.
and flash their anti-Menace pose
as they seek entry through the reception gate.

But you, my love, standing outside
under the chill glare of mean eyes,
you just speak truth to power
and feel your power rise.
Your life itself an unsung testimony
to fightback and fightforward
against their steel and gossamer.

Moving quietly in a raucous history,
the trickle becomes a tide
until one day the soldiers
look the other way or melt into the crowd,
drawn by the padding of a million footsteps.

M'lords squawk urgent commands
to stop the insolent dance.
M'lords sit in their bayonet temples,
calling upon the Furies of private interest
hurling their incantations.

And you,
you stand there like a thousand legions
and speak truth,
remembering how the tides 
can break down walls.
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from "dirty truths" by michael parenti c1996