National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee

Homage to a Jazz Man

By Joffre Stewart

He wrote poetry

An Obituary by Malachi Ritscher

42 lumpen 102

I.

People who don’t commit suicide
may not be committed

II

People who don’t commit suicide
come up with all kinds of interpretation
of those who do:

HE WILL BURN IN HELL because he
denied the Church his donations

She was mentally ill:
nobody in h/er/is right mind
would ever sacrifice own life
for anybody or anything
He was a despicable terrorist -- serves him right

She couldn’t wait for medical science
to come up with cure for the ills of the world

He had to right to escape from slavery:
Involuntary Property Loss is ROBBERY!
She didn’t have to shame Law Orders:
she could have run away:
to have courage to of one’s convictions
is unseemly
He was just selfish

She was a damn coward:
sneaking out on brave people like us*

He’s a poet. That’s what poets do.

People who don’t commit suicide
squirm to find every kind of reason
not to value the decision
of the person
responsible

On May 3, while I was anti-nuking it
with the national War Tax Resistance coördinating committee
in Las Vegas
Mark Malachi Ritscher

became the flaming man of the Millennium (so far)
by burning like a Buddhist
near Ohio ramp to Kennedy Expressway
19 days before Dallas

Ritscher seems to have been under orders
leaving behind the sign:

THOU SHALT NOT KILL

But overlooking that illibertarian aspect
of his just ethic
we get to the nitty-gritty
where he says:

Here is the statement I wasn’t to make: if I
am required to pay for your barbaric war, I choose not to live in your
world. I refuse to finance the mass murder of innocent civilians, who
did nothing to threaten our country. I will not participate in your
charade — my conscience will not allow me to be a part of your
crusade. There might be some who say “it’s a coward’s way out” —
that opinion is so idiotic that it requires no response.

So while I was in Vegas
plotting with tax-resisters
to move resistance into mass movement
Malachi committed the ultimate act
of tax resistance:
taking himself permanently
Out of the Infernal Revenue System

Had he known about us
he might be letting his little light shine
rather than having his
Millennium Flame
doused, smothered, hidden, suppressed
by the patriotically polluted overflow
of MainStream Media

III

Malachi was too much like Socrates for me
overidentified with the laws & orders
(? our? country)
he found impossible to live with
instead of taking up the post-Socratics
who dumped the Republic
and the World Historical System

IV

Malachi was a jazz man:
Will the 28th Annual Chicago Jazz Fest
Suppress the “Star Spangled Banner”
do away with the flag
and give him a respectful moment of silence?

And if suicide
is something that poets do
and this poem is known by poets
then we should see a drastic thinning out
of poetry’s ranks
especially those loners
who don’t know hot to get with
national War Tax Resistance coördinating committee**

Pulling at heart strings
What instrument
Does a plucky man play?


* Bill Maher is the coward when he apologized for saying the Arab 19 (-6) were not

** 1-800-269-7464