The American Dissident: Literature, Democracy & Dissidence

Excerpt of Poems from Leaves of Grass/Poems of Heresy by the Editor

Send $9 if you'd like a copy of the 68pp book, copyright 2014. Poems of Heresy



In Academe

I received your resume and will take you under consideration for a teaching job

with Gotham Writers' Workshop, if and when a position arises that you are right for.  [Never did one arise!]

            —Alex Steele, Dean of Faculty, Gotham Writers' Workshop


During the time           
of Bobby Sands
in Northern Ireland,
the jailers would write
next to a prisoner’s name. 

Perhaps in our day and in America,
the deans write “non-conforming”
next to a candidate’s name
on an application for a teaching position
they know damn well, they’ll never give him.



A Nation Was Born… But for What?

On the Fourth of July
blind patriots show up in numbers
to watch the military parades
and ambulating business advertisements,
and to buy hotdogs and little flags to wave.


On the Fourth of July
blind patriots frown at me,
concern for the little children, a few say,
one even raging that I was… Charles Manson.


On the Fourth of July
blind patriots scorn my vile message,
as I brave their hatred alone, holding a sign:




A Gatekeeper’s Huff of Indignity

How does the censor really believe
she is not a censor? 

You think I’m some sort
of gatekeeper, she’d said,
angrily, as if somehow not true,

then a year later
the bitch permanently trespassed me. 

How to understand such a person? 
Can self-delusion be so powerful? 

Perhaps so, considering the widespread
blind faith in God… and the Leader.



Never Been a Lady’s Man

Too negative, too critical, I am
without smooth-talking charisma,
without extreme self-confidence,
without superfluous etiquette, and
without the capacity to shed croc tears
and lie through my teeth over and again.


Rude Truth

i find you bitter, knee-jerk hostile and angry. that was my first reaction ...

when i read your diatribe against the poetry establishment, though i agreed

with much of what you said. but not the way you said it [sic]
            —Carol Novack, Editor, Mad Hatter


To write or speak “rude truth,”
as Emerson rightfully termed it,
one cannot adopt some polite, 
undefined, acceptable manner,
because uncomfortable truths
must, by their very nature,
be rude. 

And rude can only be expressed
in an unacceptable manner.

Thus, one must wonder about the
psychological disposition of those
professing to agree with
the substance of a rude truth,
while simultaneously disagreeing
with its very rudeness. 



Programmed Not to Question

The following program
has been approved
for all audiences.

But approved by whom? 

We never care to ask.
We simply open wide,
say, ahh, then swallow,
some little faceless
bourgeois rodent
tells us,
it’s okay,
he’s approved it
for the general populace.