A memorial for Felice Yeskel will be held this Sunday 10/23 at 1:30 at the Jewish Community of Amherst. Felice’s long-time colleague Chuck Collins wrote this poem in honor of this occasion memorializing Class Action’s kick-ass co-founder.
Your Class War (For Felice Yeskel)
You would laugh
at the absurd idea
of the poor inconveniencing the rich.
You who walked the battlefield,
listened to people’s stories
lives snuffed short from
poverty shredded families,
boils turned inward: bottles, needles, sleepless nights,
hands pummeling bodies of those they loved.
Don’t talk to me about class warfare, you would say.
Working class lower east side
well loved only child of Phyllis
and Harry who drove his truck to collect the flour sacks
while you rode the subway to Hunter elementary
gifted (what bullshit, you would say) child program
confused and ashamed
at your playmate’s Fifth Avenue dwelling
where your whole apartment
could have fit in her foyer
so you didn’t invite
your new friends home
for six years.
Nonviolent class warrior
who didn’t hate the rich
or want to take an eye for an eye.
It was absurdly simple,
You wanted to love those with riches
so deeply and convincingly
that they would loosen the grip
on the treasures of the commons
and let them flow into the parched valleys of
poverty and deprivation
of insecurity, indignity and want
until there was enough for all.
was not too much
Just enough moisture
to let the alders
sprout from dormant seed banks.
Enough that no child would ever
or doubt they were loved
or forget that the world
good and sufficient.
The poet Hafiz said
“Even after all this time
The sun never says to earth:
‘You owe me’
Look what happens
with a love like that
It lights the whole sky”
Your class war was to beam the sky
into the darkest corners of economic pain,
blasting away the lifeless roots
of greed and isolation
reminding us that
today, now, here, look, behold
there is enough.
By Chuck Collins, October 19, 2011