Third Degree*

Because
I dared to question
By the written words
Wrongs that made
Of man
A slave,
They placed me
Under arrest.

Two protectors of
Everything unjust
Suddenly encircled me—
As I arose to leave the
Public Library.

Without even a
Legal formality they
Rushed me off—
Into the secret chambers of
New York’s Bomb Squad.

Upholders of “justice”
Began swarming
Around me,
As I looked on—
Defiantly.

Soon
I found myself
Thrown about and
Trodden upon.
Hands raised
Me up, as
Fists, blackjacks, and feet
Hurled me down again
Into
Unconsciousness!

Bleeding,
Battered and almost
Stupefied—
I was led out
Of the
Torture room and
Thrown into a
Cell.

As I turned
On the iron cot—
Every part
Of the body
Aching in pain—

The story of the
Martyrs
Of ancient days
Reappeared.

Then,
As somewhat
In a dream,
I beheld
Mephistopheles
Mockingly
Laughing.

My
Mind
Was stumbling
Over
Two
Words:
Civilization and
Progress.

Marcus Graham (1893- )

*A personal experience – February 21, 1921. – M.G.

From: An Anthology of Revolutionary Poetry (1929), p.196-198.