Marge Piercy’s Silly War / by Chris McKinnon

Marge Piercy | Source:

Marge Piercy is an award-winning author of twenty books of poetry, eighteen novels, and works of non-fiction, including memoir and autobiography. Economic democracy and social justice are central themes in her work. Race, class, and environmentalism are woven into that framework. Her literary creativity, informed by her own sustained engagement with feminism, leans intelligently into the lives of working-class women.

Marge Piercy | Source:

Born in Detroit in 1936, Piercy’s world view is shaped by her Jewish heritage, working-class context, and the impact of the Great Depression on her family and community. Her maternal grandfather, Morris, was a labor organizer. Her maternal grandmother, Hannah, an adored storyteller, was born in a small Lithuanian village.

Much of Piercy’s poetry is written in quick free verse. But it betrays the serious, life-long commitment, of a champion of the people and the planet, over profit and power.

She was the first in her family to attend college, winning a scholarship to the University of Michigan, before earning an MA from Northwestern University.

Marge Piercy lives in a house of her own design, in Wellfleet, Massachusetts with her husband, Ira Wood.

The Silly War

Government officials, police,
media rant against legalizing
pot. Opiates were handed out
by doctors like Halloween candy.
Now we live with those deaths.

Police say pot’ll cause accidents.
Yet alcohol is legal most places.
Hasn’t anyone noticed that making
guns accessible to angry crazies
selling assault rifles to teenagers

and fanatics kills folks every day—
just shopping, going to the movies,
concerts, church, synagogue can
earn you bullets from strangers.
Those same legislators love

guns of any size and shape.
They’re as ignorant about pot
as about critical race theory.
Do they even get the difference
between THC and CBD?

I wonder, do they have any idea
what their children are vaping?

[Published in Monthly Review on April 1, 2023]

Chris McKinnon has been a day-laborer, librarian, and addictions counselor. He is retired and currently lives in central Maine with his wife, Maryanne and their beloved Aussie-Samoyed, Sally.