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Ruth Ticktin coordinated international programs and taught English in Washington DC and Maryland since 1977. Writing and sharing stories, as an author: Was Am Going, Recollections Poetry/Flash (NewBayBooks 2022); co-editor: Psalms (PoeticaPublishing 2020); co-author: What’s Ahead? (ProLinguaLearning 2013); contributor: MarylandBards 2023 + 2024, GatheringPoetry, LocalGemPress; ZvonaiNari; Straylight 10/23.


Trigger Warning

Stretching in my cell bed I shake
the calls in the halls so damn loud
Not morning yet, what’s going on

They took Joe to solitary
don’t know why or if he’ll return
Time for action, what can we do?

Hunger strike. Wonder if we dare
achy new fears creep up my spine
Can we look ahead like Joe Hill?

Another few days he returns
can’t hold Joe he’s got work to do
Join the strikers in song why not?

He says Workers will find the way
to shorter hours, better pay
What will the next stop be for Joe?

On to organize, in Utah
later a martyr a symbol
I knew Joe then, songs his promise

tough on himself a tortured soul
Joe you’re alive, here for the cause 

Says he You no longer need me
you can organize and picket
Go, tell the boss where to stick it

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