Poem | George Wallace

Source: https://thenewinquiry.com

I am sorry Diane di Prima*

i am sorry diane diprima there was no
revolution, we cleaned things up just
about enough to carry on, we forgot
your necessary guns and buddha,
the revolution of the body and heart
was no match for clean sheets and
prosperity, we filled the lakes back up
with rainbow trout we unpolluted the sky,
we closed the factories and gentrified
the lower east side, hell i think it was a
rockefeller who rebuilt the bronx (have you
seen the bronx river parkway sparkling in
the autumn sun), we filled our gas tanks and
bank accounts and ran off to cancun, into the
mouths of our children we poured laughter
fireworks poetry and college degrees, we forgot
about filling our bathtubs up with your grandpa's
marxism and coal, the life-preserving waters of
sacco & vanzetti went down the drain, escaped
us -- we put aside your revolutionary letters and
let our cup runneth over with patriotism and
football and craft beer, yeah we let the old
sins back in -- success for the many, fuck-all
for the few -- until the few became the many
again and now it's fuck-all for everyone except
the fatcats and their plastic wives in golfcarts,
country clubs and private towers -- reach for the
sky, the privileged few are on high and the rest
of us are hanging around in the streets below to
fool and to fuel, and now it's ten pm and 3 drunks
crossing church street are pulling on a young girl's
hijab and shouting trump trump trump --and the
blood in the eyes of the people, and the anger
in their mouths, is for each other, not for the
oppressors -- just the way they like it -- and
where is the precious seed of your revolution
now, diane diprima, when we really need it.

*First published in Foundlings Magazine, and included in the 2017 Blue Lights Press collection, Smashing Rock and Straight as Razors.


  1. George Wallace, with his usual perspicacity, enters into an imagined dialogue with di Prima that points to America's disheartening failure to fulfill its promise. With di Prima as muse, Wallace laments that there "was no revolution," either of consciousness or conscience but instead, hollow materialism, contempt for the environment, and growing intolerance, the bigots reveling in shouts of "trump trump trump." The poem works its way through the symptoms of America's malaise, invoking some immanent revolution in the seeds planted by Diane DiPrima's political stance and poetics. Fine and troubling work.

  2. I loved this poem when I first saw it and it was great to be able to read it again today. I enjoyed the references to 45 with "plastic wives golf carts country clubs and private towers."
    I loved the way the poem moves down the page and carried me along with what felt like understated urgency. And the point of everyone angry at each other and not at the oppressor was so satisfying.


  3. as many times as i read this, i'm Knocked Out Again! thanks for publishing "I am sorry Diane DiPrima" in your publication! Awesome poem!

  4. Outstanding poem! Especially love --and the
    blood in the eyes of the people, and the anger
    in their mouths, is for each other, not for the
    oppressors -- just the way they like it -- Strong & intense.

  5. Though I've heard George read this piece before, I can't describe the thrill of George reading "i am sorry Diane di Prima" with our chugging Jazzoetry quartet in July @ Quinn's in Beacon, NY. He let it rip like the true angel heart he, and this poem are!

  6. George,
    I liked reading this poem a lot. Thanks for putting the link on Barb's website!
    Yours truly,
    David Fox