"The email I sent a Washington Post journalist about her 'take' on Julian Assange" and "Territorio libre"

The email I sent a Washington Post journalist about her ‘take’ on Julian Assange

I know Julian Assange is easy to hate
because he keeps his own unsavoury company

And I know that he is alleged to have smeared
his own faeces on the wall in a manner to which
you affixed that clinical adverb 

Funny how the great apes
like whistleblower journalists
are listed as endangered.

I know it is far easier to see in this scraggly
scruffy looking “cypherpunk”
as you again put it
all of modern life’s worst aspects:

He listens to Chelsea Manning
he doesn’t believe Hillary Clinton
which automatically makes him some
pro-Trump operative
except the Trump people want him
locked up for life.

He is also unsavoury looking
and may be guilty of sexual assault
one of the reasons he sought asylum
and then,
as you put it,
“was less than an ideal guest”
in the Embassy of a country that denied him access
to the outdoors so that he suffered from lack of sun

And how dare he dare to become ill because
authorities in London threatened to jail him lest he set forth
to seek medical or dental care
therefore denying him rights guaranteed all prisoners
(which, again, he was not)
by international law.

I understand very well how he is
the right kind of enemy to have:
a derelict
a mendicant
the kind of person we can smugly snub
and say they are in this state
because of a flaw in their character.

I suppose I should close my note to you by observing that
no matter what you might say about Mr. Assange not being
a journalist
he has gone and done something folks
in your line of work
and at your paper
are sworn to do:
Defend the public interest

as your own employer’s masthead says:
Democracy dies in darkness.



Territorio libre

—for Lawrence Ferlinghetti at 100

It has been one of my fondest wishes
to sit under the dry sun of the island fog
you speak of
and grow wild as any joke you
and your North Beach set every told

Well before people said the word woke
you and your cohort were aiming ancient
wisdom like some guerrilla troupe
of Maquis mimes
returned from Paris or Lhasa
from the deepest and tallest temples
of the world

To say
wake, America
you don’t need to be woke
you just need to look at the face
of the sun outside of the cave
and turn your back
if only for a moment
on the infernal fires you praise
and lob into space
never noticing how the light which is cast
is actually not His face.

Maybe one of my second fondest wishes
would be to play a game of stick ball
on Columbus Avenue
just before your big bookstore went in
that ivy covered Green Monster
of the afternoon game literary scene
and all of us gathering
in drab drip dry suits bought for five bucks
while we sport what some newsman calls
androgynous haircuts
there we would assemble and
play ball!
playing by street rules
where our new America is again being made
while the players provide the color commentary

And when the umpire comes around
demanding to know
why no one called him
to make the calls
and who was it who thought
the game could be played by these rules
I like to think I will stand like you
look into his face, offer him a lotus and say

Don’t worry, chum
once we don our uniforms
you won’t be able to tell us apart
since everything is in play
everything in the territorio libre
of American baseball
where new peoples and ideas all look alike.



Jeremy Nathan Marks

Jeremy Nathan Marks is the author of Flint River (Alien Buddha, 2023). He works in the adult literacy field and laments that it doesn’t snow in December in the lower Great Lakes anymore. Jeremy recommends the Center for Biological Diversity.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Thursday, June 6, 2019 - 10:26