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Revolutionary Letters

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Revolutionary Letters #2

The value of an individual life, a credo they taught us

to instill fear, and inaction, "you only live once,"

a fog in our eyes, we are

endless as the sea, not separate, we die

a million times a day, we are born

a million times, each breath life and death:

get up, put on your shoes, get

started, someone will finish



an organism, one flesh, breathing joy as

the stars

breathe destiny down on us, get

going, join hands, see to business,

thousands of sons

will see to it when you fall, you will grow

a thousand times in the bellies of your


Revolutionary Letters #20

     (for Huey Newton)

I will not rest

till men walk free & fearless on the earth

each doing in the manner of his blood

& tribe, peaceful in the free air

till all can seek, unhindered

the shape of their thought

no black cloud fear or guilt

between them & the sun, no babies burning

young men locked away, no paper world

to come between flesh & flesh in human


till the young men can at last

lose some of their sternness, return

to young men's thoughts, till laughter

bounces off our hills & filis

our plains.

Revolutionary Letters #22

what do you want

your kids to learn, do you care

if they know factoring, chemical formulas,


of numbers, equations, philosophy,


symbolic logic, latin, history, socalled,

which is

merely history of mind of western man,

least interesting

of numberless manifestations on this


do you care

if he learns to eat off the woods, to set

a broken arm, to mend

his own clothes, cook simple food, deliver

a calf or baby? if there are cars should he

not be able to keep his running?

how will he learn these thing, will he learn them

cut off in a plastic box, encased

in a larger cement box called "school"

dealing with paper

from morning till night, grinding no clay

or mortar, no pigment, setting no seedlings in black earth

come spring, how will he

know to trap a rabbit, build a raft,

to navigate by stars, or find safe ground

to sleep on? what is he doing all his learning years

inside, as if the planet were no more than a vehicle

for carrying our plastic constructs around the sun

-Diane DiPrima