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Wild Poppies

October 26, 2010

BY MARILYN BUCK

I remember red poppies, wild behind the school house
I didn’t want to be there, but I loved to watch the poppies

I used to sit in the window of my room, sketching charcoal trees
what happened to those magnolia trees, to that girl?

I went off to college, escaped my father’s thunderstorms
Berkeley. Rebellion. Exhilaration!

the Vietnam war, Black Power, Che took me to Chicago
midnight lights under Wacker Dr. Uptown. South Side. Slapped
by self-determination for taking Freedom Wall photos
without asking

on to California, driving at 3:00 in the morning in the mountains,
I got it: what self-determination means
A daunting task for a young white woman, I was humbled

practice is concrete … harder than crystal-dream concepts

San Francisco, on the front steps at Fulton St.
smoking reefer, drinking “bitterdog” with Black Panthers and white
hippie radicals, talking about when the revolution comes

the revolution did not come. Fred Bennett was missing
we learned he’d been found: ashes, bones, a wedding ring
but later there was Assata’s freedom smile

then I was captured, locked into a cell of sewer water
spirit deflated. I survived, carried on, glad to be
like a weed, a wild red poppy,
rooted in life

Originally published in Rescue the Word.

Available on the CD Wild Poppies from freedomarchives.org.

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