Posted by: M. J. Arcangelini | May 4, 2010


50 years, it has been 50 years
since that little homegrown
Tiananmen Square we call
50 years and
now dead niXon is alchemized
into hero – the great statesman
orchestrated his own funeral
from the grave, pompous and
bloated.  Second-hand murdering
coward, true to himself if
to nothing else.
But who stands
to eulogize six innocent
students?  Who stands before
what honor guard to eulogize
the sense of morality
and patriotism that moved
a generation to rebel
against their own parents?
Who will eulogize that
noble and doomed attempt
to salvage the soul of

jameS rhodeS – I speak your name,
link your name forever with the
infamy and shame that is richarD
nixoN.  Forever linked with the
shame of KENT STATE.  The
shame of JACKSON STATE.  The
shame that will always be the
VietNam war, the Cambodian
invasion.  Shame lurching
and lumbering through history.
Soul-killing crush of greed
and power-lust masquerading
as xtian morality.  The
shame that was this, our own
Tiananmen Square –
The killing of those who
dared to say that killing
might be wrong, that morality
need not equate with
religion –
jameS rhodeS,
RICHard niXon and all your
cronies and henchmen, you
have destroyed the hope
my country was founded
to nurture.  You have
dragged my country through
the pustulating slime of
your lies.  You have
strangled a generation,
squeezing out their
breaths one by one
with obvious
Generation X
has been
crossed off
by your actions,
your greed,
your obscene
lust for power,
your betrayals,
your perversions,
your murders.


You left nothing
worth believing in.


Kent State.  Jackson State.
The dead and wounded – visible
ghosts in the television.
Hovering ghosts in the
footnotes of history books.


Fifty years, and how many wars later,
that twisted power has not dissipated;
that blood lust has not been satisfied.

ronalD reagaN – oliveR nortH
alexandeR haiG – georgE busH
both father and son
bilL clintoN – dicK cheneY
donalD rumsfelD – karL rovE
johN robertS – donalD trumP
I add your names to the list.
All the apologists for wealth
and greed and power.

Shame to my country.
Shame to my self.

I curse your names through all time.

50 years, after 50 years who
dares to speak of greaT
meN so?
A poet doing his job.
An American.  A patriot who longs
to love his country, to wear
his citizenship with pride.  A
student who has stood with the
lines of students and teachers
and patriots of all manner and
means and said “no”, never
dreaming that we could

be shot for it –

not in America.
50 years, it has
been 50 years.

remember this.

m.j. arcangelini
arcata/fields landing, ca
May 4, 1994
rev.@ 40 years, 4/29/2010 and again @45 years. 05/04/2015, again @46 years 05/04/2016 again @48 years 05/04/2018, and again @50 years 05/04/2020,  Sebastopol, ca


  1. Well done Joe…

  2. ouch

  3. oh my…….thank you

  4. Outside Taylor Hall on campus, a modern art sculpture of welded quarter inch steel stock. A hole in it. “Armor piercing”, I was told. Was that true? My roommate next door at Leebrick Hall, said he was walking across the parking lot, felt like he was kicked in the ass. Blood revealed a random shot. Was that true? He died during 2009 of natural causes. May 6, 1970, driving down to KSU with Jim Johnson to help play his audition for the School of Music. Nobody on campus. Nobody on the streets. Few people seen anywhere. We played the audition, seeing nobody leave or enter the campus building. We left and drove back to Cleveland. Two years later, sledding down the front campus with Rebecca on “liberated” cafeteria trays. Younger students found life among the heavy pall hanging over campus two years later. She and I left school and went to Oregon that year. Reinventing the future, reinventing ourselves. So we thought. What did we invent? They asked Ben Franklin “what have you given us?” He replied “a republic, if you can keep it.” There were no reporters in Independence Hall, so nobody knew what went on in there. This year, I learn from a Tennessee Supreme Court justice how the factions hated each other: Hamilton and Washington’s group hated and feared by Jefferson and Madison. If one can imagine, worse than how we hate each other now. How did we survive? That same judge told last night of a journal writer in early winter of 1864, describing how first Confederates, then Yankees raided his farm, stripping it of goods, animals, even the fenceposts, leaving nothing to eat or eat on for Christmas. We have always done this to each other. Yet still we survive. We don’t know how. Dare we ask why? Churchill (Winston, not Ward) said “it’s the worst of all possible forms of government, until you compare it with everything else”.

  5. I was living in Oberlin, Ohio when Kent State happened. Within several months I had moved with family to the westwern suburbs of Cleveland a short ways from Where Joe A. lived. A year earlier I had left West Virginia believing that LBJ had been right about Viet Nam and the domino theory. Oberlin was culture shock for a 15 year old, but a needed one.

    Now that the Corporation has been granted the rights of a living psyche, greed is all the more deified.

    We should be raising Hell again. About AfghanistanDoes anybody remember Iraq? We should be up in arms about Monsanto–a chemical company that is succeeding in controlling our food supply with patents on life forms and control of our government.

    Now I’m back in West Virginia where Massey Energy owns our legislators. And together they are blowing off our mountain tops, filling in the stream beds in the name of god and country. They call coal cheap energy. And we need it to power our greed. Southern West Virginia is run like a Third World Country.

    Everything you’ve just read is interconnected.

  6. Thanks, Joe, for the reminder of that tragic episode in our history. … thanks for sharing that and putting me in a space of contemplation of how that event effected us for a lifetime. I hope that along with the grief, we have gained strength, wisdom and a better fighting spirit. God knows we need it in this frightening political climate.

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