Even the nation’s most important cultural institutions are in the struggle against the cacophony of crazy from Trumpet and his minions. The Museum of Modern Art recently installed work to add voice to the chorus of those of us protesting and fighting. With each plaque accompanying the pieces you read

This work is by an artist from a nation whose citizens are being denied entry into the United States, according to a presidential executive order issued on January 27, 2017. This is one of several such artworks from the Museum’s collection installed throughout the fifth-floor galleries to affirm the ideals of welcome and freedom as vital to this Museum, as they are to the United States.”

Inspired by this, today’s poem will be the first of eventually several ekphrastic pieces responding to some of the works in the MoMA’s collection. The poem, untitled at the moment, simply bears the name of the artist and sculpture. Photos of the piece are the author’s own.




The Prophet 1964
Parviz Tanavoli, Iranian and Canadian, born 1937
Bronze on wood base

I. The Profit
Eyes downcast
 this blockhead leaning or falling back
  hands worse than tied: stopped locked and boxed
   such constraints only propel the reverse
    this is the devolution, where capitalism
     trumps democracy, where regression
      brings a high ROI, at least to the top
      (lean back enough, you’ll see up there)
       hands worse than tied: unable to reach the ballot box
        from this prison of our own (though not the majority of us)
         making the stench in the air comes from the refilled swamp
          a reminder that money does(n’t?) buy democracy

                                                      The Prophet II.
                                                    Eyes high & wide
                                               arms folded & strong
                                         we lean into the future
                                       lean into the struggle
                                    our queer straight immigrant
                                  citizen shoulder to the wheel
                                 you see hollowed stomach,hungry holes
                               this is how we feed ourselves,
                             that pit yearning for freedom
                           this pit to be filled with justice,
                         that with equality, this with light,
                       those with shared bread, shared love,
                     shared dream
                    this is the revolution,
                   where, like comic book heroes,
                 we stand firm, we plant ourselves like a
               “tree beside the river of truth,
             and tell the whole world, No, you move
           because for the struggle forward is the only way

through walls & bans & backroom bargains
through bought pols & bought polls & 
bought nominations & bought abominations
the power of a prophet always mightier than that of the profit


© David Siller – Photos and Poem – 2017




For the first 100 days of the Trumpet administration, this blog will feature a new poem of protest, by my own hand and by others. They will be polished gems, or rough cut drafts of rage, or in process pieces searching for peace. They may be haiku or tanka, limericks or lyrics, verses free or fettered. If you would like to submit to this endeavor, please send an email, with poem saved as a word document (.docx) to waxyandpoetic AT gmail DOT com. All rights remain with the author. VISUAL ARTISTS ! Do you have something visually poetic that you’d like to submit? GO FOR IT!

Please address any formatting preferences in your email. I will post submissions time permitting, with at least one per day. Editing will be limited to obvious errors of spelling and the like.

Read, follow, share, re-tweet, submit, live, love, spread light! Don’t forget to use #100Days100Poems !


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