Political Poetry of Susie D


Susie D

19 Winchester St. #806

Brookline, MA 02446








Susie D (www.susied.com) is a Boston-area poet with over 150 publications, and a weekly correspondent for the Jewish Advocate, The Cambridge Chronicle, The Cambridge Tab and the Brookline Tab. She won the 2002 Cambridge Poetry Awards’ Best Political Poem Award (for “Viva La Causa, Viva Chavez”) and was nominated for the Best Political Poem Award for 2003.


Her poems appear monthly in Massachusetts Mensa’s The Beacon in “Susie D’s Poetry Corner.” She has written articles for other local newspapers and music magazines including The Beat! and Boston Rock. She fronts a postpunk poetry band, Sound the Word, and moderates the internet discussion group ProgressiveChat@yahoogroups.com. Her first book, “I Refused to Die,” a compilation of the stories of Boston-area Holocaust survivors, is due out in Fall, 2003 from Ibbetson Street Press.


Susie has authored the poetry volumes It’s Only Life – Rhythmic Forays into Politics and Human Nature (1992), After Gary (1996) and Selected Poetry of Susie D (2002). She began and managed JP’s World Stage and Cambridge’s Small Circle of Friends coffeehouses, hosted the poetry show “The Spoken Scene” on WZBC-FM and has performed at First Night Boston, the Bread and Roses Festival in Lawrence, CBGB’s in NYC and other locales. She reads poetry at various Boston/Cambridge poetry venues.


She is an active member of the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action and The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life.


Her late father, Bernard Davidson, wrote one of the Massachusetts State Songs.  She owned and operated My Type, Inc., a Harvard Square typesetting and graphics company, from 1984-92.


Susie can be contacted at Susie_d@yahoo.com or Susie@SusieD.com.





No war, no blood, no bombs in the skies,

Civilians and soldiers at risk for their lives

For an enmity gained by indignity’s foil

A cowboy hellbent on destruction for oil.


Who wasn’t elected, who wasn’t the choice,

Who’s latched upon crises to further the voice

Of the wealthy, the greedy, short-sighted, the vain,

Who’d sacrifice life for material gain.


While offending the world and ignoring the source

Ethnocentric pursuit for the dominant force,

With destroyed population and land in the wake

Environment trashed, ecosystems at stake.


Against all good advice they pursue their invasion

Words of caution fall prey to complete devastation

Veterans, inspectors are viewed with derision

When the goal is not peace, but imperialism.



¡Viva La Causa! ¡Viva Chavez!

For Cesar Chavez


Born in '27 on a farm in Arizona

Evicted with his family when the state became its owner

Depression sent them westward

in the Grapes of Wrath migration

Forced them to surrender into migrant exploitation.

¡Viva La Causa! ¡Viva Chavez!

Forty schools in 7 grades, he finally quit the 8th

Through cotton fields and shining shoes

he tried to keep the faith,

To racist degradation he would cower in submission

Till one night in a theatre when he made a bold decision.

Like Rosa Parks he sat down in the Anglos-only side,

and though the sheriff dragged him out

he held his new found pride

No longer would he stand in shame

while rights were compromised,

Like Wobblies in the 1910's,

he marched and organized.

¡Viva La Causa! ¡Viva Chavez!


Strikes and fasts and boycotts were his methods of defiance,

Though growers rose against him

he would not resort to violence

And when dissent within his ranks

dispelled the union's mission,

He started yet another fast to gel the coalition.

¡Viva La Causa! ¡Viva Chavez!


The AFL-CIO and RFK endorsed him,

But Nixon's Teamsters plotted countermeasures

and enforced them

For every hard-won victory, for every small improvement,

The agribusiness giants fought to try and squash the movement.

And though the endless struggle left him weary from defeat,

and though the road to human rights is yet still incomplete,

His efforts can be realized in American conception

For he brought the migrant workers' plight

to people's comprehension!

¡Viva La Causa! ¡Viva Chavez!


And now this month another hole's

been ripped out from the heart

And once again a source of strength's

been stripped and torn apart,

and solace, if it's anywhere, can only lie in knowing

That on that final day he knew full well where he was going,

and when he got there all the gates and doorways opened wide,

and there arose a multitude to usher him inside,

Abbie Hoffman, RFK, Brothers Christ and Ghandi,

Sisters Emma and Sojourner, Ochs and Woody Guthrie,

Michael Harrington, John Lennon, MLK, Joe Hill, Romero,

All of those who lived and died the spirit of the hero,

Those who fought for basic rights wherever people roam,

Standing tall -- with fists held high –

they welcomed Cesar home!

¡Viva La Causa! ¡Viva Chavez!

Vaya con Dios, Cesar Chavez.      4.93


Lone Stars Magazine, San Antonio, TX, 3.94

Winner, Best Political Poem, Cambridge Poetry Awards, Cambridge, MA, 3.02



Selectoral Fraud 2000


seems the good ole' boys

are well and alive

in this non-democratic

non-US of A

with an evil ring set to

strike votes ineffectual

in non-whitebread districts

while confused ballots stymie

those who've long paid their dues

who recall another holocaust

of dignity and so conservation lands

11 million mile wide ozone hole

women's rights

social equality

economic justice

fall victim when

those proudly cast ballots

can't be sure they are not

disenfranchised as carnage

in this land where

ghoulish cheerleader signs fascist sovereignty

antisemitic spokesman's brought back from dark past

partisan judges blindly, freely rule bias

these hatemongering relics of an angrier era

pulling dirty trick tactics stopping no way no how

till their 1% rise up

and the rest of us wallow

in what we could have done.      12.00



Between the Cracks


A dearth of grand ideas,

a lack of communal vision

manifests in vestigal bodies

lying between the cracks.

Horizontal reminders of others, who

while prosperity enraptures the few,

become gray-wool remnants

of inequality, excess, singular this, singular that,

self-limiting silence,

peripheral sight.


Poetic Eloquence, Elgin, TX, Spring 1995; Abutilon, Longview, WA, 6.95.



anomaly in gingrich america


as a banner-waving mcgovernik,

public radio devotée,

school lunch advocate,

federal health and safety regulations backer,

affirmative action afficionado

balanced budget realist

socialist media scribe

i say


get thee to oz, newt

get thee to oz


perhaps the wizard's

got another heart

in stock      3.95



Workers' Day


When sweat and toil have laid new ground,

For millions of castles of mortar and brick,

With basic requirements provided by all,

And nobody needlessly hungry or sick,

Then we'll know it's Workers' Day.


When the fruits of endeavor are harvested fully,

As storehouses bloat with provisions galore,

And profits and shares are just means of ensuring,

That all have the same, no less and no more,

Then we'll know it's Workers' Day.


When communal gatherings are welcoming venues

For voices on every side of the fence,

And no one's afraid to state an opinion,

In this new world order of the highest sense,


When laborers' monuments stand in the squares,

Societies are rebuilt with inhabitants in mind,

Arsenals are stocked with food for the people,

Respect is bestowed upon all of mankind,


When unions and strikes are a thing of the past,

and there's no need to picket or get in a line,

with health, education and welfare in order

There really aren't any demands to define,

When people have time to smell lilacs and roses,

Because there's no anger, no issues, no race,

When within a cooperative built upon honor,

Envy and greed just haven't a place,


When organization replaces dissent,

And it's only ourselves that we need to obey,

When with our needs met we can be who we are,

And Utopia's only a hair's-breadth away...

Then we'll know it's Workers' Day.    3.91


Struggle Magazine, Detroit, MI, 9.91;

Randolph Mariner, Randolph, MA, 9.91;

The Advocate, Prattsville, NY, 10.91;

Poetry Break Journal, Oceanside, CA, 5.92;

Omnific, Artemas, PA, 7.93;

Lead poem, 7th Ann. Bread & Roses Labor Day Heritage Festival, Lawrence, MA, 9.2.91



Star Spangled Banter


Oh, say, can't you see

Underneath the street light,

Once so proudly he hailed,

Now the twilight's on dreaming.

His broad sights now blight's scars,

In these perilous nights,

While the fat cats we watch,

Are so callously scheming.

With his pockets stripped bare,

They fund bombs, cut welfare,

As if proof of our might's,

That our flag commands fear.

Oh, say, doesn't that star spangled

Banner really wave,

Oe'r the land of the bereaved,

And the home of the depraved?       6.91


Struggle, Detroit, MI 11.91



The Sidewalks of New York 1993

or: this poem doesn't rhyme


it's 2:30 am and we stumble through the lower east side

in post-gig stupor


we being big-haired mexican american street singer

german fiddle virtuoso

former bagel purveyor

new york citywise ex-bostonian

and socially-oriented woman of verse,


and even in this concrete metropolis of sprawling squalor

it's a starkly incomprehensible exposé

of the foreboding pavement and its populace

a no-budget less-than-cinematic revelation of

walking economically wounded social castaways en masse

wasted in this wasteland

soldiers of misfortune chaotically grabbing

for sympathetic pizza

in a momentary interlude of evening ritual


amid this bleakest of

day-to-day night-to-night

armies of the unseen and unheard

battling for existence


you in a squat? asks martinez

hell no, man. i'm on the streets.

and off into the myriad clutching web of consequence

street steam enveloping his majestic stride


hell's angels headquarters

imposing ghoulish edificial dignity

upon its grey-brown neighbors

which shrink by default to a blander congruence


in a bar now

jukebox blaring undertones, pistols, buzzcocks

low rent, seth explains. people our age can be proprietors

ya, i guess so. but the environment

the environment and the boxes

folded and fitted together

accommodating the unaccommodated

dourly dotting this livid landscape


back at cb's dan wilson sang of anger's alley

"the final resting place,

finish line for the human race"

but now it's me feeling the anger

and this poem doesn't rhyme.      4.93


Naked City Coffeehouse Newsletter, Cambridge, MA, 7.93;

Lone Stars Magazine, San Antonio, TX, 2.94



His Luminous Eyes


I thought I saw masses being fed in Somalia,

And boat people everywhere welcomed ashore,

While treaties were signed in Croatia and Israel,

And Native American pride was restored.

But I guess it was only his luminous eyes

And the sounding of peace in his Midwestern twang,

The triumph conveyed in his innocent smile,

The harmony and hope in the lyrics he sang.

I thought prisoners of conscience were freed by the thousands

And women united to take back the night

As oppressive regimes fell apart through the world,

And nuclear arsenals vanished from sight,

But I guess it was just conversational flow,

Where the most mundane chatter was somehow profound,

In an equal exchange without scheme or designing,

Person first and then woman, not the other way around.


The pathways to justice are rocky and steep,

Sometimes hope for the future lies only in song.

But new rays of sunlight from voices who join us

Make the load a bit lighter as we struggle along.



Poet's Pen Quarterly, Galena, IL, 12.93;

Lone Stars Magazine, San Antonio, TX, 2.94;

Poetic Eloquence, Elgin, TX, Fall 1996;

Omnific, Artemas, PA, 10.95



Barred in Bosnia


The strongest blockade is of womanly will

Where intent turns to iron and motive to fire,

Feminine fervor defying all reason,

Bodies connecting in common desire.

But something's gone wayward in Mostar today,

Croats convening in hatred and grief,

A convoy of women united in thwarting

27 trucks aiming for Muslim relief.

Driven by rancor, they vow to prohibit

The cargo from reaching a beleaguered site,

Where 55,000 have two months been held

In a place all sides claim as their holding by right.


How could such horror exist in this age

Where countrymen feud in eternal dissent,

With dry milk and baby food weapons and ploys,

Where conflicts unveil genocidal intent?

Yet a faraway region becomes our backyard

When we honor our ties to our brethren, our kin

Realize we too have a share in their plight,

And see it won't lessen until we begin.



In August, 1993 a large group of Croatian women repeatedly attempted to block a Mostar-bound U.N. convoy carrying basic supplies for Muslim infants.


Lone Stars Magazine, San Antonio, TX, 12.93;

My Legacy, Artemas, PA, 8.95.



The Marching Goes On


Rob told me yesterday

That he'd been listening to Phil Ochs.

And here I am now, doing the same.

Just that small mention

Brings all of it back.

And the marching goes on,

And the struggle remains.

The harder we cling to Phil’s words

The more we cling to Phil’s memory.

That circle of friends was too small to save him,

And 500 out of 300,000 showing up in Chicago

Fed his frustration

And sealed his despair.

But we look around, at those who barely show up for life.

We can't let it kill us,

We can only persevere

as Phil could not.

Like Ian Curtis Phil's image hangs with me still,

But where love tore him apart,

The world did it to Phil.

And I wonder

If those who feel the most

suffer the most as well,

Why is it they

who leave the most behind?

Why is it they

who ignite and inspire,

Then snuff themselves out

and extinguish their essence,

While the flames of their impact

Burn brightly as ever?


And we,

who look for new guidance in a leaderless world,


who search for the road to freedom

In the thick forest of oppression,


who hold to our visions of equality

While injustice crashes around us,


who dream of that better world

While living the nightmares of reality,

Know that sometimes all there is

Is that collective spirit which those like Phil have left us,

And we somehow continue,


As the marching goes on,

and the struggle remains.      8.91



Squawk Magazine, Cambridge, MA, 9.91;

The Advocate, Prattsville, NY, 3.92;

Struggle, Detroit, MI, 3.92;

Celebration of Life (Poetry Press Anthology, Pittsburg, Texas, 1993);

Read at 18th Annual Phil Ochs Song Night, Cambridge, MA, 11.92 (only poem);

Moments in Time, Maryville, TN, 2.95.



Bound For Glory  (The Phil Ochs Story)


It started at Ohio State in 1959,

John Wayne, James Dean and Elvis were his heroes at the time,

But spurred on by Jim Glover he began to write and play,

While Jim's dad introduced him to the issues of the day,

And now he's bound for a glory all his own,

now he's bound for glory.


He filled the student paper with his essays and his views,

But they deemed him controversial in his coverage of the news,

And when they passed him over for the editor that year,

He left the role of student for the role of balladeer.

He went to New York City at the age of 21,

And wound up in the Village where the folk scene had begun,

In hundreds of his songs he put the headlines into words,

And to a larger audience he got his message heard,

And now he's bound for a glory all his own,

now he's bound for glory.


Now like Joe Hill he sang about the rights of the oppressed,

And just like Woody Guthrie he befriended the distressed,

And though he sang on stage and not the farmlands or the train,

Workers' rights or Vietnam, the spirit was the same.

With Paxton, Blue and Dylan

he would spend his nights and days,

And with Baez and Seeger, Newport '63 they played,

Elektra Records heard him and they knew they wanted more,

And All The News That's Fit To Sing came out in '64

And now he's bound for a glory all his own,

now he's bound for glory.


His musical career took place upon the social stage,

A study of his life becomes a portrait of the age,

And though his disappointments were imprinted in his eyes,

His values and his visions simply knew no compromise,

And now he's bound for a glory all his own,

now he's bound for glory.


When rock outstripped the folk scene

he could not keep up the pace,

The glitter pushed the protest song outside the public grace,

Though shunned by TV hosts, the FBI was on his tail,

And on a beach in Kenya he was brutally assailed.

He kept up with the struggle; it was all he'd ever known,

The demons that possessed him were the only things he owned,

But through the tribulation he retained his faith and pride,

Until Chicago '68, when something in him died,

And now he's bound for a glory all his own,

now he's bound for glory.


The changing of the era in his life was symbolized,

The ending of the movement paralleled his own demise,

Like Elvis, Hill and Dean with whom he most identified,

Death became the rebel in the form of suicide.

Although his loss is something that is hard to understand,

No one said the spirit has to go down with the man,

And if we stay together and we keep to our ideal,

The world that he envisioned could just finally be real,

It'll be the Phil Ochs story in the end,

It'll be the Phil Ochs story.      8.92


read to the tune of Phil's song Bound For Glory.

Struggle, Detroit, MI, 3.93



E. Berlin




Socialist shrapnel.

Not long ago.

Plans, dreams and visions

Now a larger-scaled settling

Of dust rising anew

In grey, dingy air

Within a single canvas

Of muted yellow.

With proletariat aspirations

A stench of disappointment

Which lingers still.

The reconstruction of brick.

Is never in spirit.      6.91



Bratwurst Among Ruins



Halves and quarters of churches and palaces.

Pre-1945 splendor,

Now shocking consequences

of human aggression.

US and British aggression.

German and Russian aggression.

Gothic ruins.

They sell bratwurst below them

In gaily painted booths.

Tourists gather, eating and talking.      6.91


Poetic Eloquence, Elgin, TX, Winter 1995



Now Ve Are Home

(The Streets of the New Capital)


There's mayhem tonight

On the streets of the new capital.

"Now ve are home" says the old man,

All 5'4" of him.

He's trying to explain it to us

Through his broken teeth and glassy stare,

He thinks that Berlin now will be

The starting and the ending

Point of convergence

For the world.

All around

Flags, horns, voices, arms

All emanate approval

Of the decision

Made by 337 members of Parliament

On this day.

They're jubilant; they're hopeful.

They see their future

In their importance.

Their Western influence

Is alive.      6.91



Double-Edged Words


Lean back and hurl

Those double-edged words

It takes but a moment

To shatter decorum

And flatten esteem.


Draw back on that bow

With your poisonous barb,

Send it along

In its hellish direction

To the innocent target

Whose misfortune was crossing

Your angst-ridden path.


Analysis fails

To uncover the source

Of your daggers of malice.

What was it that prompted

Your chosen appointment

As Satan's disciple,

Delivering hatred,

Espousing abuse?


Do those double-edged words

Fill the gaps in your pride?

Is their evil embrace

Such a powerful force

That you slander your brother

With venom and vice

As the ramifications

Escape your perception,

And the sin reproduces

In your virulent soul?


And your innocent target,

In confusion and shame,

Tries to salvage his honor

And continue the night.      8.91                                      


with just one letter, words can cut.

My Legacy, Artemas, PA, 5.93



The Portrait of Palestine's Plight


In the portrait presented

of Palestine's plight,

these innocent victims

are peaceful, upright


under years of apartheid,

brutal sanctions and laws,

of their evil oppressors

who destroy their just cause.


In the public persona

they're a populace scorned

joined together in virtue

cast aside, homeland torn


It's a curious picture

without research, inspections,

those who champion rights

look in other directions


While documentation

of torturous acts

against their own people

are left out of the facts.


Firing squad killings

with a loud cheering crowd,

for suspected collaboration

legal trials aren't allowed.


Gays nonexistent,

women out of the loop

minorities silenced

no say for these groups.


Negotiation or compromise

are unheard-of conceptions,

each offer refused,

without pause or reception


as they want nothing less

than Israel in the sea,

death to all Jews,

and democracy.


As proclaimed in their textbooks

and in youth education

while they place them on frontlines

for the good of the nation?


Their state they should have,

settlers may well need to leave

but how will they govern?

let's not be naive.


Especially we women

who seek far and beyond,

here's a few little factoids

of what really goes on.


Palestinian Arab women

murdered by their kin,

in what's called "honor killings"

for implication of sin.


Society that believes

honor's only restored

by the spilling of their blood,

the Arab Jerusalem Times implored.


"Palestinians believe a woman

is among a man's possessions,"

said the head of Gaza's health group

of its victims of aggression.


No laws on sexual harrassment,

a widely-occuring aberration,

reported August 2000's JT,

newspaper of the Arab population.


Judges and police

will side with the man,

finding "justifiable exuses,"

said a Unicef criminal exam.


Legal polygamy

gets them wed at 13,

80 percent in Bethlehem's district

married at under 16.


Under Arafat's Fatah decency squads,

107 women killed

from 1988 to '93,

"honor killings" blood again spilled.


For women working out of the home,

targeting's more acute

four hooded men killed a chief nurse

six women medics followed suit


Arab professor Mohammed Haj Yahya

said 39 percent of wives are battered,

in a Bir Zeit University lecture,

male dominance the heart of the matter.


Gang raping by masked Arab henchmen

of the wives of Israeli employees

both Jerusalem and Jewish Posts uncovered

these terrorist underground stories.


Are we blind to these cases

of oppression of our gender?

Or is it now time to instead

become their defender?


Do we stoop to condone

such barbaric abuses

by upholding a people,

towing the line, the excuses?


People who danced

following 9/11?

those who blow up schoolchildren

on their way to martyr heaven?


Or do we seek objectivity

hope for truce on both sides

which involves evolution,

which requires compromise?


Holding trials with fair juries

bringing victims some grace

acknowledging Israel

and its own ancient place,


Reaching out as a neighbor

with genuine intent

negotiating grievance,

resolving dissent.


This goes for both parties

but we can't side with one

while people are dying,

and reform's not begun.


We can hope, we can dream

for a Middle East peace

in the name of all victims,

for injustice to cease.


But no one will get there

Not they, you or I

till the vision is clear

it's futility's cry.      3.7.03