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Rag Protest, 1985

One of the first documented direct actions for AIDS activism was against the New York Post and its columnist Ray Kerrison, who wrote of the afflicted, “Now the bitter harvest is upon us.”


You in that shiny brown suit yeah you rag

along with your wall words

this rag bombs down raining

rags torn fisted rags


cotton rag old sheet rag bundled

rag to stuff in your ragwort mouth

down that ragweed throat a whipped rag

a twisted cracked thrown Rag-


gedy Ann. Andy. You

rag muffin you old rag

raggin on us in your ragtime

geezer raggedy suit? Here—


take the dust, the restaurant oil,

the school board floor soil, the chalkdust

take all we’ve wiped I hear

you can get it from sweat


Jon Bonanni serves as founding editor for the Cape Cod Poetry Review. His poems have appeared in Gulf Coast, Foglifter, Cincinnati Review, North American Review, Seattle Review, Cream City Review, Washington Square Review, and Prairie Schooner, and his book reviews have appeared in DIAGRAM, Rain Taxi, Tupelo Quarterly, and Kenyon Review. More at



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