I’m in a rogue state, honey

Getting unpredictable & strange

Just a rogue state itching to

Test my harridan ballistic range


National Missile Defense System

Got nothing on me

I can pierce thru the genome project

With a cyborg’s vitality


I’m in a rogue state, Mr. President

Don’t tell me what to do

Your rules aren’t my rules

Cause I’m the Lady of Misrule



It became exceptionally clear that we’d be starting off on the wrong foot with the axing of the Inaugural Poem during the President Select  events of the Inaugural Day (Jane 20, 2001).  Romantic poet, visionary Percy Bysche Shelley, has said that poets are the  “unacknowledged legislators of the race”.  Every culture in the world has had a place for its poets (its artists, philosophers)  --often perceived to be the imaginative conscience or psyche of the people who can articulate the ‘rasa’ -  the Sanskrit word for flavor or taste -  of the times. Well these are bitter times, my friends.  And the President Select might have thought he’d  be hearing some bitter poetry so why risk  embarrassment. It is also telling that poetry will not have a home in this Select Administration. It will be rallying from  greater position of power and dignity, outside the corruption of corporate & media stranglehold. The War on Civil Rights,  on Women’s Rights over their own bodies, on  Voting Rights, rights of the Environment and all its countless and beautiful and amazing denizens are all part of the War On The Imagination – a War that threatens free thinking, free expression, the ability of people to empathize – to imagine themselves as “other”, as less well off, as suffering, as disenfranchised, that doesn’t remember its history & is cursed to keep repeating the same mistakes again & again -  that doesn’t recognize the struggle or appreciate the many lives that it has cost to IMAGINE those freedoms that we hold as inalienable.



I attended  the Anti-Bush  Events  of the Shadow Inauguration  organized by the Reverend Al Sharpton and others in Washington DC’s Stanton Park in  support, primarily, of the disenfranchisement of the African Americans and others in the recent election in Florida and elsewhere, and within US society as a whole.  Before beginning the March on the Supreme  Court Building we all (probably upwards of 2,000  people) took an oath to uphold the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The law was established in order to re-affirm the right of African Americans to vote, a right that many speakers felt had been hindered during the recent election. We were able to circle the Supreme Court building in  spite of the taunts and banter from Bush supporters:


Go back to Russia!


Get a Job.


Earlier as we’d been struggling through a sea o f Bush supporters on their way to the viewing stands one crudity stood out “Get back to the back of the bus!”


I took this as a very particular goad, as a reminder that we now have to get back to the streets!


 We were in an armed city.


Security was billed the tightest in history, with almost 10,000 members of law enforcement present nearly every ten feet.  And yet it was heartening seeing how thousands of protesters braved the rain and cold – that there was very clear opposition to the fraudulent, anti-democratic “political covenant”, lining the parade route all the way.


I was with a small “cell” of poets.  Kristin Prevallet, Alan Gilbert, Anselm Berrigan, Maggie Zurowski. Our group elegantly stenciled our  signs, including one that read “Ecrasez l’infame!” –  Voltaire’s  vivid rallying cry to liberal conscience everywhere, as he took up issues of injustice. One version might be


“crush bigotry


“make war on the fanatics!”


Anselm  came up with ‘Duh-Throne Bush’ “Impeach Cheney” (for the secret bombing of Cambodia) and so on.


I’d like to interject a few lines from Allen Ginsberg’s “Pentagon Exorcism” here:


“No taxation without representation” is the opening epigraph.


Who represents my body in the Pentagon? Who spends

My spirit’s billions for war manufacture? Who

Levies the majority to exult unwilling in Bomb

Roar? “Brainwash!” Mind-fear! Governor’s language!

“Military-Industrial-Complex!” President’s language!


 & I’d like to close with my own poem, now, in  the spirit of ongoing Engagement & creating  of antidotes to the distressing situation at hand. Keep the faith!  No justice -  No peace.


Spel Against Specious Ones


that they be doused roiling water

that adamantine speech go against them every time

that glamorous women turn their heads from them

that children run

that if they perpetuate war & famine they rot in hell

that hell be ferociously hot

that they are no longer recognizable or loved

that they get no more votes

that they exude an aura of sickness & scent of doom

that their credit runs out

that they are disbarred from the marketplace

that they are banished from the kingdom of poetry &

   music forever

that their seed dries up

that they loll about mindlessly in sad places


Gone Bone Gone out of Gentle Pathways!


(if they have one shred of recognition for their dark ways

some of this curse is reversible)





From a Public Forum  (with Tom Hayden, Stew Albert, and others) Boulder Theatre – Copyright Ó 2001 by Anne Waldman.  Lines from “Rogue State” Copyright Ó 2001 by Anne Waldman. “Spel Against Specious Ones” from Fast Speaking Woman, City Lights Books, San Francisco.