#RUNTRACCOONREVOLUTION by Jeremiah Walton

This mess develops when the economy is more important than starvation.  When childhood is dangling from a noose, and you are marching under the shadow, a machine.  What would you do with your life if you took money out of the equation?

In all likelihood, many readers will shrug their shoulders and smile cynically reading those lines (which come from the early part of this book) especially the last part.  More and more, I notice people (including many who really should know better) proudly declaring their lack of faith in any attempt at societal change.  Even worse, quite a few are outright contemptuous of the idea.  So be it, I suppose.  I just don’t want to hear any of them whining when their children don’t have enough to eat.  (That kind of vengeful bitterness is understood but rightly condemned in this poem, but I can’t help it coming out sometimes.)

Every day I tell myself I’m being foolish.  I remind myself of history, of all the disillusioned people who were proven wrong in the end.  But I can’t help myself.  I see moments that should be the start of a new era come and go, rushed out of view as fast as possible by the establishment and their servants in the media.  It feels to me like a door is slowly but surely closing, and we don’t have much time to get through it.  It might well take a revolution to get us through that door.  I don’t mean the ugly, violent events that characterized many of the revolutions of the past, but a new kind.  Perhaps the kind hinted at in this book.

Over the past few years, I’ve read and loved three other books of poetry by Jeremiah Walton.  The curious can find reviews on this blog.  #RuntRaccoonRevolution is very different, however.  It is not a collection but a single, powerful song of fear, love, and hope.  Building on personal experiences, Walton climbs to chilling insights:

The first sentient robot begs to be turned off

watching small graves dug for small coffins

his pleas are buried under the weight of development.

The ideas in this poem, like those in the above lines, are so compelling I sat down and read the whole thing in one sitting.  Anyone who knows me knows that is exceedingly rare.  A large number of passages captured things that have been floating around in my head for years:

peaceful protests waltzing within the permitted box for

change, love and heartache

Probably there are some readers who will find some of this overly harsh on modern life.  I would strongly disagree, but even if the thoughts are cutting at times, there is compassion all throughout:

we hamsters in balls are terrified.

mouths shaped like body bags

As all my quotes should show, the verse itself is beautiful, and as full of power as the ideas it carries.  Returning to my dark thoughts at the start of this review, I don’t know if we’re going to go through that door.  Walton seems to think so, but I feel more and more pessimistic with every missed opportunity.  If we do go through, it will be because millions of people start to feel the feelings, and think the thoughts expressed in #RuntRaccoonRevolution.  That would be really great.

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