Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Sharon Doubiago: Maybe the Revolution


I love your poem insisting good will return,

we have to have faith. But now is

bad. At the Foreign Film Festival Awards

the filmmaker of The Road to Guantanamo

broke down on stage, mid-acceptance speech, and sobbed.

And didn’t stop sobbing. Maybe

this is the revolution, that we all break down

crying and do not stop.                        


The next day three men at Guantanamo Bay

were found hanged and a poet friend took the opportunity

to inform me of my lifelong misuse of hung for hanged.

I didn’t want to believe this

especially for my published poems. But the headlines

confirmed the King’s English:

3 Terror Suspects Found Hanged


I like what you say, they’re just idiots, not evil. Just

going for the bucks (the proper English). But these days

the opposite keeps insisting: this is a well-planned,

long-planned coup. What do we do

about those just going for the bucks?


My daughter called me to her laptop

to show me Guantanamo after our first Afghanistan war.

Hundreds of young men hogtied face down,

so shocking I still marvel that any of us are still standing.

Maybe this is the revolution, that we all break down

and don’t get up.


My grandfather was the hangman of Globe, Arizona.

Disinherited by his Confederate father

for marrying my grandmother whose grandfather was Union

his training to be a doctor cut short, but which got him, starving,

the only job he could find, he hanged his fellow man

for bucks, ruining himself and assuring

the ongoing family ruin, especially our bucks, our English.

Maybe the revolution is finding the names

of everyone he hanged (tell me again, O King of my tongue, I

hang a man, I hanged a man, I hung a bunch. Tell me

the good your proper is.


Maybe the war would end if we all start wailing

like the women at the funerals of their children we’ve bombed.

Like the women who haven’t taken off their black clothes in years

because every time the mourning is completed, another love is killed.


Maybe the revolution is to tear at our clothes, to screech

and wail, fall on our backs, everyone gone mad

like the Afghani man this week

with his car in our streets, the blood

running in the streets, maybe

that’s the revolution, tears

like labor that can’t be stopped


crying and crying, the whole world

not getting up. Imagine that sound, everyone sobbing, that


correct language, tears running

maybe that’s the revolution

the tears running     the tears running in

the tears running in the streets



for Aggie Falk who said just as I was drafting this poem: “Just go out and stand in the street. I know this, I know this would work.”


for Alan Scouten who wrote the same moment: If I could speak to an audience for 3 minutes on Sunday I would ask for a chanted prayer. Not silence, I would ask that we wail and tear our clothes as they do.”


Copyright 2014 Sharon Doubiago. First published in Fightin Words, 25 years of Provocative Poetry and Prose from “The Blue Collar” PEN, Heyday Books, Berkeley, 2014. Reprinted by permission of Sharon Doubiago.

One comment on “Sharon Doubiago: Maybe the Revolution

  1. jfrobb
    August 29, 2016


    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on August 29, 2016 by in Opinion Leaders, Poetry, Social Justice, War and Peace and tagged , .

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