So Much Things to Say by John L. Stanizzi

…Pilate took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

                                                                                  Matthew 27:21-24

Eh! But I’ll never forget no way: they crucified Jesus Christ..

                                                                      Bob Marley

                                                                      So Much Things to Say                     


I thought I’d write a dramatic monologue
where I’d  profess to comprehend this league

of men who dared to stare injustice down.
One by one, I’d take their voices on,

and posture as if I had some great insight
into the crushing discrimination they would fight,


as if I could feel, even dimly, what Christ
had witnessed when the Roman soldiers diced

for his humble robe because it was clean,
after the miracles, the denial, and that scene

in Gethsemene when, full of doubt,
He asked about the chances of getting out

of this human mess He was entangled in;
but the question was rhetorical, and when

the nails were driven through His hands He must
have been so disappointed in the trust

that was betrayed that He’d never show His face
again; he’d leave them wondering, this foolish race

of human beings who seem to take in hate
the way they breathe;


and Marcus Garvey’s fate

was also driven with divine intent.
One God!  One Aim!  One Destiny” he’d chant.

But in East St. Louis the riots would unwind
one of the bloodiest outrages against mankind.

And the Black Star Line would sail into the gale
of bigotry that howled its vile wail

of rage and guns; George Tyler’s one-man raid
nearly succeeded, but Marcus was not waylaid;

like Bob so many years later, he wouldn’t be stopped
by bullets, those exclamation points that ached.


And out of the ghetto of Stony Gut, St. Thomas,
Paul Bogle would emerge when the promise

of slavery’s death was manifest in taxes,
and injustices bludgeoned the people, brutal axes

pounding on Morant Bay, though Governor Eyre
would claim there was no reason for their ire,

they had no right to speak.  And so they marched
to the Court House at the Bay, and charged

the local powers with racism and oppression,
hot machetes, sticks, and their mission,

but the Custos called on their volunteer militia;
shots were fired, fires were set, these comitia

raged until the revolution died
in flogging, flames,  and gunfire; they were mired

in the bloody venom of violence and  ignorancy
that ended in death and the Eyre Controversy.


So what is there that I can possibly say,
who never rose to greatness from St. Ann ‘s Bay,

or bled upon a low tau on a hill,
or after being throttled with a thill,

was hung in the burned out court, a spectacle,
a lesson in truth that is despicable;
these are blessed lives, lives ineffable.

John L. Stanizzi is the author of the Chapbook, Windows.  His full length collections are Ecstasy Among Ghosts, Sleepwalking, Dance Against the Wall (, and After the Bell, (  His poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, The New York Quarterly, Tar River Poetry, Rattle, Passages North, The Spoon River Quarterly, Poet Lore, The Connecticut River Review, Freshwater, and many other publications.  Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, in 1998 Stanizzi was named The New England Poet of the Year by The New England Association of Teachers of English.   John has been a judge for the Connecticut Poetry Out Loud Program, the 2011 Connecticut Book Award for Poetry, and the Sunken Garden Poetry Award for Adult Writers.  He is the coordinator for Hill-Stead Museum’s Fresh Voices Poetry Competition for high school poets.  He taught for many years at Bacon Academy where he also directed the theater program.  He has read at many venues throughout Connecticut, including The Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, RJ Julia Booksellers, and the Arts Café Mystic.  His newest collection, Hallelujah Time!,poems based on the music of Bob Marley, will be out next month.  He is currently an adjunct professor at Manchester Community College.  He lives with his wife, Carol, in Coventry, Connecticut.

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