Saturday, August 06, 2016

The Sunday Poet: Kevin Gallagher

Kevin Gallagher

Kevin Gallagher is a political economist, poet, and publisher living in Greater Boston with his wife Kelly, their children Theo and Estelle, and Rexroth the family German Shepherd.  These poems are from Gallagher's new book, LOOM, published by MadHat Press.  Gallagher edits spoKe, a Boston-based annual of poetry and poetics, and works as a Professor of Global Development Policy at Boston University’s Pardee School for Global Studies. 

The Foot of Slave Power

                        Samuel May Jr., June 2, 1854

A body of troop with drawn swords
and a large force of police and marines

surrounded a hollow square
hemmed by a thick-set hedge of gleaming blades

and large brass field-piece with artillery--
loaded to the muzzle and more than ready.

In the midst of this walked Anthony Burns.
Fifty thousand rushed in all around them.

Fifty thousand carrying black coffins.
Companies of mounted horsemen rushed us,

dividing and scattering us for a time.
He has gone off to their tender mercies.

He has gone!  Boston lies bound hand and foot!
Slaves at the foot of Slave Power!

The Blood of ’76

Amos A. Lawrence, 1854

Three years ago I offered my support
to protect U.S. Marshals from the mob.

This time I prefer to see the court
razed than see this man’s newfound freedom robbed.

They marched him down State Street in procession.
Cavalry, artillery, and cannon.

U.S. troops before him and behind him.
He held his head up and marched like a man.

The windows on houses were filled with faces,
though the streets and alleys had all been cleared.

We thought Boston the safest of places,
that here freedom could never disappear.

We cannot stand that this was not a crime.
I have to tell you that it is high time.

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