Monday, March 5, 2018

Charles Rammelkamp


The night of our farewell banquet in Chicago,
before Emma Goldman and I were expelled
from the country, the end of 1919,
that capitalist monster Henry Clay Frick died,
a heart attack in New York City.

I'd spent fourteen years in prison
for shooting him twice, stabbing him,
after his Pinkerton goons killed
nine miners in the Pennsylvania Homestead Strike.
I'd gone after him in his office in Pittsburgh,
Got off two shots with my revolver
before that other Carnegie pig Leishman
grabbed my arm, the two of them
wrestling me to the ground,
which was when I stabbed Frick four times.
Then the other Carnegie poltroons overwhelmed me.

After I was pardoned in 1906,
I edited Emma's Mother Earth
eight years before I started The Blast.
But then they sentenced Emma and me
to two years for "conspiracy" against the draft,
that traitor Wilson having given in to the war mongers.
But it was unconstitutional, no matter
what those Supreme Court stooges ruled.

And the minute we're released from prison?
They round us up and deport us to Russia.

So when I learned Frick had died,
I felt just a little vindicated,
like maybe there was some justice after all,
and when the reporter asked for a comment?
"I’m glad he left the country before me,"
was all I could say.
The bastard’d been deported by God.

Charles reads "Alexander Berkman...":

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Charles confesses: "Described in the press as 'the most hated man in America,' the capitalist Henry Clay Frick was the bĂȘte noire of the anarchist Alexander Berkman, Emma Goldman's lover. This reflected an earlier time of wealth disparity in the United States. You have to wonder if there will be more Berkmans and Fricks now that the plutocrats are set to cash in on the Trump-McConnell-Ryan tax plan."

CHARLES RAMMELKAMP is Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore, where he lives. His most recent book is American Zeitgeist (Apprentice House). A chapbook, Jack Tar’s Lady Parts, was recently published by Main Street Rag Press. Another chapbook, Me and Sal Paradise, is forthcoming from FutureCycle Press.

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