He was a legless veteran of the ’39

Civil War Brigade in Spain.

He hurled his stump around

like an orangutan in heat,

never missing a day of teaching.

He indoctrinated students

as a revolutionary apparatchik

with fire in his belly for a New World.

He refused to use an umbrella,

a symbol of the bourgeoisie.

He wouldn’t brush his teeth

or use underarm deodorant:

Comrade solidarity.

Daily Worker, his bible, when religion,

opiate of the people would never do.

He walked the talk on every picket line,

raising his fist, red in the face, singing:

“A Las Barricadas.”

We’d argue late into the night

about whether the ends justifies the means.

“Dynamite, bombs, and assassinations

expose the light of truth,” he’d say,

“and without light, nothing flowers.”