They Still Attack Our Signs, Norman

(For Norman Mayer)

They fear the splash of paint on paper,
made in their mills.
They sense a power, but can't find it.
swinging the clubs, like machete, they hope
to rouse it into the open.

It flys beyond their sight.
Their vision, set to the ground,
the sky, long forgotten.

You didn't hide. You stood among the decaying
monuments which celebrate years of destruction
Your leaflets were maps showing the overdone
saneness getting ready to blow the world apart.

Those 8 x 11 signs should have been measured
in megatons, but we doubted their power.
a leaflet given to a passerby can't produce
a mushroom cloud, or leave a trail of radiation.

It burst from the eyes of the reader.
It doesn't make ear splitting sounds, but
simply an exploding "Yes!"

They sat in rooms, where you couldn't see them,
and read your words. Do you see them now?

Can you see people reading the leaflets we
hand to them?

Maybe there is peace where you are now.
Not here.

They still attack our signs, Norman.
We still try to fight without fighting
They still hit and we still bleed.

If they take away our paints we'll show
them their fears. Fears which can be erased
by colors not worn by soldiers.

If they take our brushes we will make our
lines like the tire tracks you made,
using the machines they built to bring
them our lives.

If they destroy the meaning of our words,
we'll invent new ones. A linguistics of Peace. 101.

They killed you, but you arose,
in the morning news.

At first we thought YOU were the murderer,
not the murdered.

The signs, in Lafayette park are your monuments.
They shout out your death.

John Gregorio
August 20, 1984

A college student who never visited Lafayette Park.

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