The State of Wisconsin

August 18, 2013  by Dr. Margaret Rozga

[This poem was written by Dr. Margaret Rozga inspired by the current crackdown on political dissent in the Wisconsin State Capitol, where peaceful singers are being arrested for singing in the rotunda without a permit. Dr. Rozga has published two books: Two Hundred Nights and One Day and Though I Haven’t Been to Baghdad. She lives in Milwaukee and blogs about poetry and social justice. This poem was originally published in New Verse News. We have added images and video below to provide background information. WCMC editors would like to thank Dr. Rozga for allowing us to showcase her work.  -Editors]

The State of Wisconsin

Capitol Police Captain Lonergan Speaks Into His Shoulder.

During a game when he speaks,
Packers’ Head Coach Mike McCarthy
props up his nose with a stiff sheet of paper.

Two stiff-eyed officers, watch the center, slow-walk
the circumference counter-clockwise.

Guards on the circumference of the perhaps
mine in the Penokee Hills scarf their faces.

Judge Conley finds sections of the permit requirement
unconstitutional in ways that raise “the question of whether
the rest of the Access Policy can be salvaged.”
Perhaps he thinks this clear.

They nod and cut a clear line toward the center.

The center of attention, Senate President
Mike Ellis, screws up his face, busts a gavel.

We saw you, your face, your mouth moving.
We have clear evidence. You were singing.

No one saw the Governor pick up the phone.
Just imagine his face as he answers the prank call.

Justices of the Supreme Court hear arguments
and take them into their own hands.

Teachers take pay cuts.

He’s busted. He’s held in
a basement room, plastic cuffs cutting into
his wrists.

In the still green of the Penokee Hills,
the Ojibwe set up a harvest camp.

Packer backers, happy to have tickets,
paint their faces and chests green and gold.

Another $200 ticket. What’s up, Captain
Lonergan? What do you call down there?
And who calls it in to you?

WI Capitol Police Capt Lonergan  speaks into his shoulder communications devive as he directs the arrests of peaceful singers from a second floor balcony. Photo courtesy Leslie Peterson

Capitol Police Sgt. Chris Lonergan speaks into his shoulder communications device as he directs the arrests of peaceful singers from a second-floor balcony. (Photo courtesy Leslie Peterson)

Video of arrests on Tuesday, August 13, 2013:

Dr Rozga accepted the 2013 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Heritage award on behalf of her late husband, Fr. James Groppi, at the Capitol in January 2013. Read more here:

To help defray legal expenses associated with current arrests at the Capitol, visit:

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One Comment on “The State of Wisconsin”

  1. lrolf August 18, 2013 at 11:47 pm #

    What has happened to Wisconsin? It has gone from being a beautiful progressive state to a fascist dictatorship within but a few seasons! Now there is no singing in the capitol without a permit. A mine going in at the Penokee Hills that will result in the largest open pit mine in the word on the shores of sacred Lake Superior. Native Americans threatened to be evicted from public land that formerly belonged to them by machine gun carrying mercenaries imported from Arizona. Frack sand mines in the hundreds tearing apart the beautiful hills of Wisconsin and leaving environmental disaster zones.

    Hunting wolves with dogs that will result in either the wolves or dogs getting ripped to pieces while Hounders watch on calculating their take from WI taxpayers.Dogfighting is illegal in the rest of the country but not here! A DNR that does swat team executions of a baby deer named Giggles. A Natural Resources Board that purged all dissenting members so that they could resume the business of massacring the state’s wildlife more quietly and efficiently!

    A governor who has sought to impoverish and harm the state’s citizens by refusing healthcare for the poorest citizens (Obamacare) and taking away union’s collective bargaining rights. Walker enriches himself while draining the lifeblood from the state and it’s people.

    People of Wisconsin please gather your strength and fight against the dark forces that are sucking the life from your state! It must begin with you! We are here to support you. Perhaps you should arm yourselves with cloves of garlic, holy water, silver crosses, wooden stakes and mallets. May God be with you!

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