Remembering Marilyn Buck

Remembering Marilyn Buck: Political prisoner in the USA

Steve Bloom

Had she lived, Marilyn Buck would have been 63 years old today: December 13, 2010. She died, however, last August. Exactly one month ago, on November 13, a memorial meeting was held in the former Audubon Ballroom, New York City, which inspired the second poem below. The first was composed by Marilyn, in her prison cell, July of 1990.

Marilyn Buck was a poet and freedom fighter, a political prisoner (one of many in the USA) who spent almost half of her life behind bars. Let us take the opportunity to remember her today, embrace her as a human being, admire her courage and salute her dedication to freedom.

There are many places on the web to find out more. 

* Re Marilyn Buck you can visit: 

* Re political prisoners in the USA you can visit:

Moon Bereft 

Beyond razor-wired walls
the moon shimmers in the late summer sky
spills over in pale brightness
to draw me into its fullness
washing my eyes in quicksilver

Now, in a heavy-lidded cell
moon-bereft nights leave me weeping
tears well up in dry cratered wounds
despair rises
dark and irradiated
to swallow starlight
and spit it out
like steel needles
that incite my loneliness

My soul careens off cell walls
wails till pain tires
and the pale moon of memory
appears to call me home


Remembering Marilyn Buck (1947-2010)


"A sadness too deep for words"


These are words I write down,

on the back of my program,

to describe the sadness I am feeling

a bit more than half-way

through the evening.


"In a heavy-lidded cell

moon-bereft nights leave me weeping."


These are words Marilyn writes down,

in her poem, to describe the sadness

she is feeling one dark-of-July in 1990.


How many have had to explain

the ways in which a choice

to fight for justice leaves us weeping?


Yet those who live and love as

Marilyn Buck lived and loved know

there is a purgatory even worse

than this: that waterfall

of tears shed by all those

who choose not to fight.


"They call me an enemy of the state

so I know I must be doing something right"


A choice, made once and

never questioned—not even

in the darkest of times.


If Giuseppe Verdi were alive,

I think to myself, he might

write an opera worthy of this

libretto. For hours passed

listening to one of his

constitutes the sole experience

I can think of comparable

to what is happening to me

now, here, this evening.

Still, let us remind ourselves,

only Marilyn Buck could

have written the life

which she has left to us.


After her release, those closely

connected describe a woman intent

on devouring everything

in the final few weeks of life

which she has left to her.


And so we comprehend: thirty years

behind prison bars could not devour

this living spirit. Chalk-up one more victory

for a living spirit over that which some

still have the arrogance to call "freedom."


She who believed in freedom

let her rest.


"They call me an enemy of the state

so I know I must be doing something right"


And we know it too:

an entire ballroom-full

of people who, during

two and one-half hours

of tribute by her friends,

by her comrades, by her

family, reconfirm

the ways in which each

and every human

being becomes family

in the presence

of a living spirit.


Marilyn Buck—presente!


Marilyn Buck—presente!


Marilyn Buck—

siempre presente!


Steve Bloom

November, 2010