When by Jack Hirschman

When
1992

When I saw in the council chambers of the big city
the mouths of the council members
opening and coming down
on the fat sandwiches
that’d been delivered to their places,
coming down and chewing and leaning over talking
with half-stuffed mouths, or heads thrown back
laughing, their bellies chortling,
and all the while
one after another homeless person
stood not far from them
but far enough from them
before a microphone
requesting help for their most basic human wounds,
protesting against a syndrome without alternatives
except for skid-row hotels or a concentration
camp in the downtown desert; –

when I saw the indifference of this system
physically manifested
by those pigs of local government,
I thought: it can’t be quick enough
that they’re led to the sty they belong in;
it can’t be quick enough
that they’re forcibly removed
from the people’s chambers
and replaced by human animals who, at least,
can smell the heartbreak
and the enduring dignity of the American people.
Those pigs are worse than the rottenest
blue pork at the bottom of garbage-can Los Angeles.
Hungry men and women never should have to be
subjected to their poisonously filthy mold

Jack Hirschman

Jack Hirschman
Born: 13 December 1922, New York, USA
Nationality: American

Hirschman is a poet and social activist, with an oeuvre of more than fifty volumes of poetry and essays. Born in New York City, he received a BA from the City College of New York in 1955, MA in 1957 and PhD(from Indiana University) in 1961.While studying at City College he worked as a copy boy for the Associated Press. At the age of 19 he sent a story to Ernest Hemmingway, who responded ‘I can’t help you, kid. You write better that I did ay 19.’ A copy of the letter was left with the Associated Press. When Hemmingway killed himself in 1961 ‘Letter to a Young Writer’ was disseminated by the wire service to be published around the world

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