March 11th-March 17th, 2011


by Joe "Pepe" Oulahan

Outside the door
Where the people are marching
I found a truth that’s grown tired of sleeping
Outside the door where the people are marching
I found a state house full of new voices
Born to the wave of oppression’s resistance
Pounding on drums that define the promise
Banging on doors they know must remain open
Climbing in windows to stand in the center
Of the circle of power that they know has gone crazy

And I will never forget
As long as I live
No, I will never forget 3/9

Outside the door
Where the people are shouting
I found a song that would not be broken
Outside the door
Where the people are shouting
I found a spirit that showed me a moment
That told me that ours is the changing of seasons
And that greed is the venom and life is the reason
And that drove me strait to the belly of feeling
Where a face that is human is a face that’s worth saving

And I will never forget
As long as I live
No, I will never forget 3/9

Outside the door
Where the people are speaking
I found a stairway that had its own heartbeat
Outside the door where the people are speaking
I found a street that was painted in truth
That carried a tune and rang like a bell
From the top of the hill and back down to its footprints
Paving the way for the new declaration
That the time has come for the counting of numbers

And I will never forget
As long as I live
No, I will never forget 3/9

Joe "Pepe" Oulahan has lived in Milwaukee for 38 years.


by Brent Goodman

I am not political, but even
the Capitol’s bathroom windows
are bolted shut. I wish this were
a metaphor. One in, one out,
no signs, flags, or books.
The officials I didn’t vote for
access the people’s house through
a secret tunnel system
once only rumored to exist.

Brent Goodman lives in Rhinelander, WI.

Cahoots: Wisconsin Makes a House Call

by Denise Sweet

We enter the brawl of voices, a mob of signs
the cameras flare, the sirens thrum and
howl around the press of people--

It’s a clumsy chore of taking it to the streets
leaning against the beaten door of arson
or the plate glass of breaking and entering
and then prepare for what’s ahead: joining
the stream of total strangers, we are in cahoots
with a common indignation, a despair
we declare as our own, climbing step and
stair to wait, we aim to find a place
to stand together for days if we must.

And you. While you memorize your lines,
and a smug buttress of millionaires
smoke fat cigars and reassure you,
We jam the corridors and crawl through
windows. We don’t ask for the man
of the house, we don’t leave when
told to go. By now, this much you must know:
We are coming in.

But this is not the house of corrections
where we surrender ourselves,
this is not the house of striking out,
this is not the house of bums,
of aimless punks, or derelict junkies
tying off on the marble floors
amidst high-collared, learned men. No.

This is the house that we have built
and come to declare our own this time
each stone and stair, each frame and border
Whose house? Our house? And we expect
the doors to open to the glare of hunger
to the bone-struck wind of resistance
to the change in furious weather now--

And you over there? Pull up a chair
it’s time we had this talk.

Denise Sweet is an Anishinaabe poet [White Earth] and former WI Poet Laureate.


by MK Eagleson 03/09/2011
In memory of Wisconsin’s democracy

Social justice died today
Political insanity carried it away
The haves and have nots, standing back to face
No common ground, just shared disgrace

The middle class no longer needed
Our founders' words no longer heeded
The common wealth has been pilfered by thieves
Elected officials bought and paid for should leave

Campaign reform, term limits and trust
All relinquished for money and lust
Lust for control; lust for their power
America the beautiful is in her darkest hour

They have outstayed their welcome, while eating our core
Turned lady liberty into their personal whore
They pledge allegiance to their greed
While at the corporate trough they feed

For those who can’t govern but mislead, lie and cheat
Our nation’s history will sadly repeat
An uncivil war or an uncivil debate
We’re bleeding and oozing unspeakable hate

Our highest court, no longer supreme
Has been paid to dismantle the American dream
The deck is stacked, the stakes are high
We truly NOW must do or DIE

MK Eagleson is a self-employed social worker.

Chip Seal Nation

by Larry J. Eriksson

Our roads wear out,
but instead of repaving them,
we apply a cheap and easy
chip seal of oil and gravel;
they may look better,
but the road is still broken.
Good enough
for a chip seal nation?

Our environment is in crisis
and climate change looms,
but instead of real solutions
we sell rights to pollute,
asking the market
to make our decisions.
Why look to the future
in a chip seal nation?

Our schools are in disrepair,
and teachers beg for supplies
in overcrowded classrooms
as we keep cutting costs
and tell our students
they only have to pass a test.
Who needs a real education
in a chip seal nation?

Our broken roads lead
to gated communities
for the privileged few
as millions struggle
with stagnating salaries
and disappearing jobs.
Why share the wealth
in a chip seal nation?

Larry J. Eriksson lives in Madison, WI.

In a Wisconsin Public Market

by Marilyn Windau

Socrates, teacher, take up your toga hem.
Sit at the foot of marble capitals
on the stone ledge
in the agora.
Question and debate
with your followers,
your students,
so eager for your next word.
Amidst shouts of sardine sales,
olive oil reservoir bargains,
impart knowledge
not to five but to the forty- five,
who come now to your class
with thoughts of suicide,
with knowledge of abuse,
with shakes of epilepsy,
with allergies to peanuts,
chocolate, test taking,
with knives, handguns concealed,
with latent anger, and muscle memories
of drive-by, trigger finger power.
Socrates, teacher, in this age of reason,
see through faulty argument
to truth, to right, to justice.
Your time again has come
to make a difference in education,
in civilization.
Wisconsin, in its void, beckons.
Marilyn Windau teaches art to elementary school children in Oostburg.