And I thought speech was supposed to be free–


And I thought speech was supposed to be free–

The old bromide
“put your money where
your mouth is,” implied, truly,
that money didn’t have
a mouth.

But now, money’s speech and,
if corporations are people, my friend,
they cannot be expected to utter sibilants
with lips rather than wires.

The problem is–
one problem is–
when money talks,
it rarely speaks
in two-cent increments.
its vowels aren’t open
and the only latin that it knows
besides E Pluribus Unum (Citizens United)
is quid pro quo.
(Even if the Court
refuses to say so.)

Take, for instance, how money has been put
where our mouths are,
passing laws outlawing
the sight of meat meeting
its end (money’s ends),
the odds and ends
of mistreatment — let’s
not let venality
go viral–

But blood will out
no matter how they damn
the spot,
for we are not
dumb animals.



Here’s a poem for the 14th (?) day of April  (I am tired!)  I will probably link to Open Link NIght on With Real Toads

Process Notes, especially for non-U.S. persons–our Supreme Court has had a couple of decisions overturning campaign finance laws based upon the idea that money is speech and that First Amendment (free speech) rights prohibit the limitation of campaign contributions.  They have denied the idea that large campaign contributions give even the appearance of  undue influence unless there is a direct favor purchased, i.e.  quid pro quo.  

P.S.  The cows above have, I think, a pretty decent unfactory-farmed life, but I happened to have taken their pictures, so am using them here. 

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14 Comments on “And I thought speech was supposed to be free–”

  1. hedgewitch Says:

    Very adroit the way you have turned these frightening facts into a very layered almost allegorical poem, k. It could easily have been a soapbox, but instead of pushing into the ear, it travels in a sort of current through the brain, and the ideas are all the more powerful as they come to life in the reader’s own mind. Also, the images are strong, but not over-played, which is always difficult with things that we feel are so wrong that we are made emotional by them. The Shakespearean echo at the end is perfect, like a prophecy, with all the weight of the inevitable–or so we hope.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Yes, I’m not sure of the inevitability of truth coming to the fore. But when I tried to write something like–so hang on to your rights–or go vote–or protest or something, it was too ponderous. Thanks for your kind thoughts. Especially appreciated today, a rather rough one! k.

  2. brian miller Says:

    wrote a piece on that in my notebook
    its rather disgusting actually…esp when at the same time
    the social security administration is stealing
    the tax refunds of children whose parents
    accepted payments illegally…
    sins of the father come haunting
    would not happen to the rich….

  3. You have taken the subject and turned it into a lesson…reality. Great job!

  4. Kay Davies Says:

    Very well put, Karin, on a subject needing to be said. The same things apply in Canada. Money talks, and is heard, while citizens can talk and never be heard.
    Sorry you had a rough day, though. I hope tomorrow is better.

  5. Brendan Says:

    There’s a bit of the jurist here, presenting the legal case of the opposition and then examining just what it means in its most immoral consecration. Blood will out. Thanks holding the balance-pans over the slaughterhouse.

  6. I’m sure your topic is of current contention in the States right now – unfortunately, I am quite ignorant of the politics, but seems to me the powers that be are trying to justify unjust practice… something I am quite familiar with in my own country.

  7. Steve King Says:

    Speech is limited all the time for reasonable purposes…think of “fire!” and crowded theaters. It’s hard for me to believe that a judge somewhere can’t see that monied interests being able to drown out the political speech of ordinary citizens is on its face inequitable and threatens our way of life.

  8. janehewey Says:

    i esp. like the clever, poetic wording of your fourth stanza, and the last stanza is pure delight for this reader. the whole thing really fun to read aloud. I admire your ability to iterate important issues in a melodic way. The poem has a natural flow that speaks to the authentic voice of its author. I can learn from you, k.

  9. ayala Says:

    Strong images and a great write.

  10. I can’t improve upon the comments already given, just say this is one of the best poems I’ve seen from you, in fact: Bravo!

  11. grapeling Says:

    that you can voice so effectively with litotes rather than hyperbole speaks to your craft, K.

    meanwhile, bleep those bleeping bleeps ~

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