I Was There

My hand scratched out the first draft of the Declaration of Independence
I held the hands of the Underground Railroad transcendents
I whispered the Rights of Man in Thomas Paine's ear
I walked all 220 miles on the Trail of Tears
I stood at Seneca Falls and called for suffrage and emancipation
I was a founding member of the International Workingmen's Association
I was splashed with blood when Booth shot Lincoln
At Wounded Knee, I buried my heart and that of my son
I was there for the era of the ERA
I jumped out the window when the Stock Market crashed that day
I lost my farm and livelihood in the Dust Bowl
At Pearl Harbor, I ran around in my underwear doing damage control
In 1942, they put me and my family in internment camps
I watched the Atomic Bomb drop, it looked like an infrared lamp
They blacklisted me in 1947, said I was a commie
My life inspired Orwell to warn about commies and Nazis
In 1950, I stood up to Joseph McCarthy on the floor of the Senate
I knew that the execution of Rosenbergs wouldn't be the end of it
I was William Gaines' attorney in 1954
Before Rosa Parks sat down, for her, I held open the door
I howled with Alan Ginsberg in what some call sin
I was thoroughly covered in mustard at the Greensboro sit-in
I called shotgun when they started the Freedom Rides
At the Bay of Pigs I walked beside the many who lost their lives
I did research with Rachel Carson that Silent Spring
I blocked access to the button when the Cuban Missile Crisis was in full swing
When he said "I have a Dream," I stood next to MLK
I watched from the grassy knoll during the JFK killing
I served on the jury that convicted Malcolm X's killers
I stumbled through Haight-Ashbury after taking so many thrillers
I huddled in a dark apartment while Watts burned
I was stuck in the shit when the Tet Offensive tide turned
I shed many a tear when the shot rang out in the Memphis sky
I shed many more when they decided that RFK, too, had to die
I watched the launch of the rocket that spawned the Moon Landing
I threw rocks at the cops in solidarity with what Stonewall was demanding
I held the bloody hands of the students they shot at Kent State
I saw the flashlights and called the police to the Watergate
It fell to me to clean up the Three Mile Island mess
I watched as Hinkley erased Lennon's last steps
I swung a sledge hammer as the Berlin Wall fell
I drove Brandon Teena's murderers to hell
After the Oklahoma City bombing, I comforted too many parents
I screamed loudly when James Byrd was killed by ignorance
It was like a bad TV rerun when they did it to Matthew Shepard
I had my vote for president stolen in a corrupt Florida election
I jumped from tower seven on 9/11
I wore a hoodie as I watched life ebb from Trayvon Martin