Revolutionary Rats


Gary Corseri – TRANSCEND Media Service

“I think we are in rats’ alley
Where the dead men lost their bones”
T.S. Eliot

You’re a rat in a maze and you can’t get out.
The rats are eating the other rats.
How do you like this luscious rat food?
Gorge your full on the putrid cats!

You’re covered in dung and you smell like piss.
You can’t remember when your dark coat shone.
You’re living in sewers—you know the hiss
Of the pipes of Empire winding down.

They tell you you’re free, they tell you you’re brave.
But you cower in corners afraid of the light.
A wheezy whistle comes out of your mouth.
A thousand whistles in fetid air take flight,

Break the sound barrier, crackling hot.
It’s damp, your bones ache, the boil on your back
Festers, attracts the attention of other rats.
You jump one, break its neck in two, eat.

Eat and shit in the dark and damp,
Pray to your Rat God for courage, strength
To live another day in the cellar of the great house
Where they sleep on cushions, oblivious, above.


Gary Corseri has published his works in countless venues around the world, including TRANSCEND Media Service, Op Ed News, CounterPunch, Common Dreams, Dissident Voice, L.A. (and Hollywood–) Progressive, Village Voice, and The New York Times. He has published two novels and two collections of poetry, edited Manifestations, a literary anthology, and his dramas have been produced on PBS-Atlanta and elsewhere. He has taught at US public schools and prisons and at US and Japanese universities. He has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library.

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