Political Activist

by Tom Hunley

When I lift up my hand-made picket sign
above the crowd and raise my voice as high
as it will go, when I am at your door
protesting “I’m not a solicitor,”
when I lick envelopes, when I make calls,
I feel just like a rolling bowling ball,
a prayer sent down a greasy lane, and smack!
The government comes toppling down — a strike!

A split? A 7-10? Fear not! I’ll end
the war and save the forests, too. Don’t send
me home to my torn shack, to my mean wife,
to my small paycheck, to my meager life —
because that’s where I feel just like a pin,
set up, knocked down, set up, knocked down again.

                                                                                                (unpublished, uncollected)

Tom C. Hunley is the husband of Ralaina Ruvalcaba and the father of Evan Joel Ruvalcaba Hunley. He has degrees from Highline Community College (AA), University of Washington (BA), Eastern Washington University (MFA) and Florida State University (Ph.D.), where he was the recipient of a 2002-2003 Kingsbury Fellowship. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the English Department at Western Kentucky University. Before settling on a career in academia, he worked as a public relations writer, a sportswriter, a technical writer, a warehouseman, a Salvation Army bellringer, an enumerator for the U.S. Census Bureau, a typist, a data entry clerk, a file clerk, a fry cook, a cashier, a dishwasher, night manager of a convenience store, and a canopy construction worker. He is the editor/publisher of Steel Toe Books.