gilets jaunes 

by Jay Ressler

Note: This poem was submitted for publication in Studio B’s annual ekphratic project (art-literary), in 2019 themed “Wabi-Sabi.” I can’t fault the editor of the book for not including it. The poem is quite long and complex, not really in keeping with the wabi-sabi theme.

Laborers of soil and village
Are they to blame
For global pillage
And climate shame?

The President of the Rich
Francois Macron
Be his name,
Would give us the lie to affirm.
He tells them they have no say
But from their empty pockets
They must pay.

With November cold,
The last straw was drawn.
Deplorables yellow vest adorned
In their multitudes ascended,
From village and town across the nation,
A peaceful pledge in the street to stay
To defy the desperate insults
In what the rulers say
Gilets jaunes they were named.

Newsmen and newswomen,
Hoping to capitalize
Looking to sensationalize,
Challenged some to take rock
In hand and pose in angry mock
Pretending to ready a throw,
Just for the camera, don’t you know!

Tho’ the offer was mostly ignored
Tiny bands of
Black-clad anti-Fascist
Fascists, and
Fascist fascists too,
Did oblige
Smearing the out-pouring
With their crime,
Hoping to bring them to their line.

Without a real champion,
They could go either way.
Who can in advance really say?
The labor unions have forgotten
Their cause and lost their appeal.
With some Zeal
Time to get in the sway
To Save the day.
Open the door
Defend the cause of the rural poor
And join them with those of Urbs
and Suburbs!

“Every day is a fight just to get by”
That is the anguished cry.
Bring down taxes and electric rates!
Raise the minimum wage!
Les Beaufs tout from the stage
Finding the Redneck pride
Of West Virginia miners
Who stood fast and died
Without fearful heed
Of Blair Mountain coal bosses’ greed.

The President of the Rich
Dispatched soldiers aplenty
Gendarmes with their sticks,
Water cannon, and gases of hell
The just anger of the wretches
By a show of force to quell.

On the tax He did retreat,
Just a bit,
For just a little while
Remembering that he dare not repeat,
What his soul does partake,
Words of contempt for the Deplorables
From ere long ago
“Let them Eat Cake”
Is the message buried
In his stony core.

Politicians, Meritocrats, Social engineers
And Reformers galore
Claim they know the score,
They preach to us
About who we must Deplore
But of real solutions
Haven’t a clue to explore
Much to their chagrin
The specter of social revolutions
Again merges to the fore.