“If This Happened in Germany, Cars Would Be Burning”: American Passivity in the Class War

“If This Happened in Germany, Cars Would Be Burning”: American Passivity in the Class War

by Robert Archambeau

Assaults on collective bargaining, a proposal to eliminate child labor laws, a tax structure that favors the wealthiest of the wealthy, no financial gain for workers despite huge increases in per-worker productivity, a tax-funded bailout for the financial speculators who all-but-destroyed the American economy, a law allowing corporations to anonymously give unlimited amounts of money to politicians, increasing employment insecurity, a jobless “recovery,” and a billionaire-funded scheme to pit the public-sector middle class against the private-sector middle class so as to reduce both sectors to a lowest-common-denominator of economic insecurity. Looking at all this from across the Atlantic, a German acquaintance of mine recently noted “if this happened in Germany, cars would be burning in the streets.” Why, he wondered, were working and middle class Americans so docile in the face of this aggression by Wall Street and its paid-for politicians in both major parties? Why were the protests in Wisconsin an anomaly, rather than part of a nation-wide outcry against the persistent assaults on the vast majority of the population by the plutocratic few? READ MORE

Sunday Poetry Series Presents: Robert Archambeau

Black Dog’s Bedside Manner

by Robert Archambeau

for John Matthias in a losing season,
the black dog depression at his side

The black dog’s in the room with you,
and what to do but wait until he bites?
He’ll wolf your dinner, spill your whiskey,
piss in the fireplace when you try to write.
He’ll bar the door, he’ll stretch and lean, stare cross-eyed
at your daughters and then leer at your wife.
He’s slipped the Bishop’s muzzle, he’s gnawed the lawyer’s cat.
Despite the best prescriptions, he’s made the doctors’ cough.
The black dog’s in your bed with you,
and what to do but wait until he bites?
Spurt-sprinting in his sleep, he dreams you’re prey,
caught, clutched and carried, cradled in his gentle jaw back home.
In your dream you run from him, or write
“sit, boy” or “beg” or “heel” or “fetch.”
And in your dream the black dog takes his bitch.
Beside your bed and fevered sleep
he rests his paw upon your sweating head,
he leans in to hear you muttering
“Play dead, play dead, play dead…”


Robert Archambeau is the author of Word Play Place (Ohio/Swallow), Home and Variations (Salt), and Laureates and Heretics (Notre Dame). He is one of the editors of The &NOW Awards: The Best Innovative Writing (Lake Forest/&NOW), and professor of English at Lake Forest College. He blogs at www.samizdatblog.blogspot.com. The above poem is used by permission of the author and originally appeared in Another Chicago Magazine.