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  • Stephen Mead

Flames from the undertow

(for Marge Piercy’s Vida)

By Stephen Mead

Photo by Tom Barrett on Unsplash

What mercy does history have?

A vindication or two shoves backward

for every thrust forth?

Lord, the walls of all buildings in every city

could be covered with the names, the faces, the graffiti of ghosts.

Are you a renegade?

What is your alias as you stand

with an untraceable phone calling your lover

who has another while the umbilicus rings

and rings to be picked up (surprise) by someone else,

perhaps some adrift bus station passerby, that being

who knows nothing of living hunted,

the wires tapped ... ?

Wanted, you are always wanted

for what birth your body could give

controlled by so many others the Supreme Court decrees,

your features distorted by disguises

as the Underground shifts like a river with a constant heart.

Human pilgrim, illegal native

lost like an alien to your own country,

you are a sacrifice to the cause

and even stronger than you realize

as the future moves onward

to be shaped where you meet it----

straight at the core

of corporate Justice-bought

supremely blown dynamo.


Stephen Mead is an Outsider multi-media artist and writer. Since the 1990s he’s been grateful to many editors for publishing his work in print zines and eventually online. Recently his work has appeared in CROW NAME, WORDPEACE and DuckuckMongoose.Currently he is resident artist/curator for The Chroma Museum, artistic renderings of LGBTQI historical figures, organizations and allies predominantly before Stonewall, The Chroma Museum - The Chroma Museum (


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